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Marking the New Year with an Old Calendar

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As we transition to a new year, one of the ways we mark the change is acquiring a new calendar. Even though many of us have moved the tracking of our meetings, tasks, birthdays and other important events to a digital format, I still enjoy a physical calendar, and I especially enjoyed a recent look through the Prints & Photographs Division collections at calendars from different time periods

The production of calendars as promotional items for businesses or services goes back into the 19th century and continues to this day. It’s also interesting to find calendars that can be re-used because the dates now line up in 2021. These first two lovely examples from 1897 offer that opportunity:

Calendar for [1897 January, February, March] byEdward Penfield
[1897 January, February, March] / Edward Penfield. Poster by Edward Penfield, 1896.
Poster calendar [for] 1897. January, February, March. Poster by Louis Rhead, copyrighted 1896.
Poster calendar [for] 1897. January, February, March. Poster by Louis Rhead, copyrighted 1896.

While these full year promotional calendars for beer in 1897 and “celebrated fine shoes” in 1886 can also mark time in 2021:

Geo. Ehert, Hell Gate Brewery. Print by Gray Litho. Co., 1896.

Reynold's Brothers celebrated fine shoes. Print copyrighted by Bien (Julius) & Co., 1885.
Reynold’s Brothers celebrated fine shoes. Print copyrighted by Bien (Julius) & Co., 1885.

Breweries, insurance companies, beauty products, newspapers and printers are among those who created the calendars below.

[Advertisement for Hoyt’s German Cologne and Rubifoam for the Teeth, both manufactured by E.W. Hoyt & Co., Lowell, Mass., illustrated with girl and Ladies Calendar for 1889]. Lithograph, 1889.

Home Insurance Company, cash assets $6,000,000, January. Lithograph by Kronheim & Co., 1876.
Compliments of James Everard’s breweries, New York. Copyrighted by The Giles Co. Lith., 1895.

Barker & Randolph, lithographers, printers, binders and black book makers. Chromolithograph, 1889.

New York Daily News, price one cent, English and German editions. Lithograph by Lindner, Eddy & Clauss, N.Y., 1886.

My favorite may be the one below, even though it is the least colorful one. This promotional calendar advertising Success sweat collars for horses features the equine subject penning a letter supporting the product and the Horses’ Protection Society.

“Success” the horse’s friend. Lithograph by Henderson-Achert-Krebs Litho. Co., 1888.

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  1. William Least Heat Moon, in his book Blue Highways, came to rank diners based on the number of calendars they displayed on their walls. It was his opinion that the more calendars a restaurant had, the better their food.

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