I have been letting you know I have had major technological issues the last few weeks, I finally got myself into the AT&T flagship store on North Michigan Avenue and after several hours (I must say very pleasant hours!!!) with my new friend, Dario, everything is sorted…I have new play things! The only issues are that I have to reprogram many things, redo passwords, etc. etc. etc. I am still using my “vintage” PC to write nenasnotes, I will eventually get a keyboard for my iPad and other gadgets, I do love gadgets!!! PS to that story, I am a creature of habit and a person who worked with a company where the “S” not only stood (and stands) for Saks but also for Service, and that is always what I get from AT&T. It doesn’t matter whether I am on the phone with questions and/or a problem or in person at their American flagship, I wouldn’t change for the world!
Now you may well ask, “Nena what does this have to do with the old Bell Telephone Company”, let me explain. I was at an event several years ago at the Chicago History Museum and met the AT&T Store Manager and their Visual Director who told me they were to have a “museum” at the newly opened flagship. This peaked my interest and I mentioned to them that my Father had done the illustration for the front of the Bell Telephone book. You may recall that he was a commercial artist as well as a fine artist and did may commercial projects, many of which were company logos as well as posters for The Columbia Exhibition (none of which bare his signature, they were, afer all commercial pieces!). They both expressed interest and that was that. Time went by and I found myself in the store, I think I was upgrading (the last time) to a new phone and the young man (forgive me for not remembering his name, bad Nena!) saw me and come over and said “I checked with our archivist and he verified the illustrator was indeed your Father!” The original is housed elsewhere, probably at the AT&T headquarters in Dallas, but it is Daddy’s without doubt. I was beyond excited and thrilled since I had grown up with that image with great pride.
The image which you will see below was taken from The Spirit of Communication, “The Golden Boy” that was sculpted by Evelyn Beatrice Longman and was, at the time, New York City’s second-tallest sculpture next to the Statue of Liberty, at 24 feet, it was cast in bronze and covered in gold leaf! It was completed in 1916 and resided at the top of the Bell tower in Lower Manhattan until the 1990’s. In the early 1930’s the Spirit of Communication logo appeared on the front of the telephone book.
Taken from Pinterest, photo credit unknown.
Isn’t he glorious. He graces the lobby of AT&T in Dallas. Pinterest photo credit unknown.
This brings us back to last week when I am seated in the middle of the AT&T flagship waiting for Dario, I turn on my stool and lo and behold what is behind me but a replica of “The Golden Boy”…I was gobsmacked!
Here he is for all or us to admire in Chicago. The staff were quite intrigued with my story and I happened to have a photo of Daddy’s illustration which I shared. And now I share it with you……
Ivon’s illustration for the Bell Telephone Book from early 1930’s to early 1950’s.
And here is the artist’s photograph, signed to his beloved wife, Ruthy,my Mother, taken at the time of the illustration, early 1930’s. It is my most favorite photo of him and one that I cherish. I wish you all could know him he was a very special gentleman, talented, funny, a super sportsman, everyone’s friend, a respected artist (I would say respected as a human being!) and totally devoted to his family, we meant the world to him. I will share more of his art with you in future posts, of that you can be sure!
This, by the way, is in no way a commercial for AT&T….rather the story of recognizing ownership of an iconic commercial image!