The 114 cards in the Albers Collection are monthly calendars produced by the Strobridge Lithography Company from the 1890s to World War I. Each card measures 15.6 by 8.7 centimeters. Ranging from 1897 to 1917, they are exquisite examples of Art Nouveau design in America, showing the artistry and printing skills of the company to its highest advantage. The cards functioned as “home advertising” for the firm, and as these examples show, were punched with holes so they could be displayed on a kitchen or office wall. The color separations are remarkable, and the vivid beauty of the illustrations perfectly captures the collaboration between artist and craftsman.
The Strobridge cards have been donated to the Urban Studies Collection of the Archives & Rare Books Library by Jeanne Rennell in honor of her father, Lawrence Albers, and her uncle, George Albers. Lawrence (b. 1916) and George (b. 1914) were raised in Cincinnati. After their father died in the devastating Spanish influenza epidemic of 1918, their mother took a job as a buyer for Pogue’s Department Store and raised the boys with the help of her sister. The two boys often won blue ribbons for their design work entered in the annual Rotary Club Boy’s Hobby Fair in the 1920s and 1930s, and at one point were awarded a special “Grand Prize” so that first prize could be given to another entrant. One year they built a scale model of the Times Star Building, and another time they created a model village complete with school, church, houses, fire department, and offices – all with orange crates begged from a local grocer.
The Strobridge calendar cards exhibited here were originally collected by the Rev. George Albers.
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