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Geyer's Stationer Vol 78, No 1,
Detail of the cover of the July 5, 1924 issue of Geyer's Stationer

Geyer’s: Businesses and “How they Face the World” (part 3)

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For my last Geyer’s post, I wanted to focus on one other great feature of Geyer’s: the many photographs and images of individual businesses and buildings.

Many people are looking to understand what a specific business looked like, but because many of the buildings they occupied were renovated, or destroyed and replaced, this can be tricky. Added to that, many business don’t leave behind much about themselves, making the quest to understand what their town or a business actually looked like, that much more difficult. This is why I am always on the look-out for resources that may have images of individual businesses, and which can provide an avenue for researchers. While finding images featuring specific buildings in a trade publication like Geyer’s may be like looking for a needle in a haystack and come down to a bit of luck, it is still possible.

Wilson-Jones Loose Leaf Co of Chicago (3300 Franklin Blvd) with office in New York (316 Hudson) and San Francisco (323 Market) features a drawing of the factory and a statement of policy: "To make the most complete line of loose leaf devices and supplies conformation with universal demands. To make every product the best of its class. To sell to dealers only. To pass on to our dealers the advantages reflected by our improved methods of manufacturing. To charge fair prices consistent with market conditions. To render dependable service."
October 20, 1924 (p. 33) Geyer’s.

In the past, it was not uncommon for advertisements in trade periodicals and local newspapers to actually feature an image of a building or business. In some cases, the image was a sketch, while, other times it was a photograph. However, while articles from trade magazines may be indexed in resources like Business Periodical Index or Industrial Arts Index, advertisements are not. Researchers either have to flip through a publication or use that publication’s Advertisers Index, which can help locate the larger ads. Recently, however, the internet has become a helpful tool for finding images in trade publications as some have been digitized (though not Geyer’s unfortunately).

“Short Stories About Stationers and Their Stores” from the November 20, 1924 (p. 12) of Geyer’s.

In Geyer’s, articles about a best practice, a new way of doing something, or featuring a business because of their longevity or stature in the community, are good for images of stores. Geyer’s had a regular “How they Face the World” column and pieces from it often featured a photograph of a front window along with a little bit of information about the store. In some cases, the articles even took the reader inside the store by including pictures of a store’s interior.

short article that features a photograph of the window of Matt Parrott & Sons Co. "complete office outfitters" showing many different office products
“Heard Among the Hoosiers” and Matt Parrott & Sons Co. from the November 5, 1924 (p. 20) of Geyer’s.

Beyond photographs, there are articles about businesses, new products on offer from a manufacturer, or other general interest topics.  An article published in the July 20, 1924 issue caught my eye because it was published in the run up to the annual industry convention, which was held in Cincinnati that year. The authors wanted to entice members into attending the conference, so the article showcased the “Modern City of Cincinnati” by featuring images of some of the city’s leading business, which they felt best illustrated that theme. This included companies such as Globe-Wernicke, Henderson Lithography, U.S. Playing Card Company, Samuel C. Tatum Products, Ault & Wiborg, and Dalton Adding Machine Company. Anyone wanting to know how Cincinnati looked at that time has several images showing that in just this one article.

this is a two page article spread "Industrial Cincinnati" that features three images of buildings for Globe-Wernicke (top), Henderson Lithography (middle), Dalton Adding Machine (bottom) and "Stationery Production Center" that features three images of buildings US Playing Card (top), Samuel C. Tatum Products (middle), Ault & Wiborg (bottom)
Articles for the Cincinnati conference in the July 20, 1964 (p. 12-13) Geyer’s.

I hope you have enjoyed this brief look at Geyer’s because I may revisit this publication in 2024. If you are doing company or community research, we do have a guide that that might be helpful. One source we like to mention specifically, is the Dun & Bradstreet set that is digitized for the years before 1924.

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