Look how cool these old Soviet calendars are

My Russian grandmother had these Soviet calendars from the 1960s. I was fascinated with them when I was a small child and studied them almost every time I visited. The calendars have 365 pages, one for every day of the year. I don't read Russian but I can understand what most of the pages are about from the illustrations: profiles of Soviet heroes, chess problems, cartoons, boasts about the Soviet space program, and other nuggets of pro-Soviet propaganda. I now realize the bold red and black graphics had a big influence on my design aesthetic. I also love the cheap newsprint and the way they are bound with big staples. Maybe one day I will self publish a book using this kind of paper and binding method. When my grandmother died at the age of 107, I inherited a few of the calendars and they are some of my most prized possessions. I looked on eBay to see if I could pick up the calendars from other years, but I couldn't find anything like them! Read the rest

Creepy Victorian era advertising fad

These old advertisements are creepy and as annoying as many of the online ads you'll find over at /r/assholedesign.

[via Book Curious newsletter] Read the rest

Pre-internet analog Dash Buttons

Back in the day, before Amazon and even before the internet, dash buttons took physical form in Reddilist, a handy little wall hanging for the kitchen or pantry with tabs for Instant Vi-Tone, Frostade, or Johnson's Glo-Coat. Read the rest

New York Public Library making it easier to See Dickens' desk, Woolf's cane, and Kerouac’s boots

NYPL's Berg Collection ranks among the greatest collections of literary ephemera and artifacts, but it's been very hard to see these items until recently. Read the rest

Photos and ephemera from the Hindenburg

The Hindenburg disaster happened 75 years ago this month. In this incredibly fascinating video, Cheryl Ganz, the chief curator for the National Postal Museum, talks about the photographs, letters, and maps collected by Hindenburg passenger Peter Belan.

Belan was on the Hindenburg when it burst into flame. In fact, he took a whole roll of photos from the doomed ship as it came in for a landing, photos that haven't ever been published before. You'll see some of them here. Belan's pockets and suitcase are the source of some of the only surviving examples of Hindenburg passenger documents, including receipts and a map of the ship's last route.

In particular, I absolutely love the Belan photographs. There's something very modern about them, or maybe just about the act of photographing a setting right before it becomes infamous. These shots make it easy to imagine a parallel-universe Belan twittering the disaster as it happened.

Read more about the Hindenburg disaster at Smithsonian Read the rest