Tuesday, October 18, 2011

19th Century Peep-Show

Fred T. Singleton was a typographer and designer who had his beginnings in Kansas City, Missouri where he published Poster Lore: a journal of enthusiasm devoted to the appreciation of modern posters, Kansas City: At the Sign of the Red Pale, 1896. In 1903 he was designing covers for The Papyrus. The next glimpse of Singleton we have, he was a foreman at poster artist Will Bradley's Wayside Press in Springfield Massachusetts. He wrote and published an autobiography, My Friend Southwick: an autobiographical note, in New York in 1920. By 1924 ads give his address as > FRED T. SINGLETON 1 008 Printing Crafts Building 461 Eighth Avenue at Thirty-fourth Street NEW YORK.

In the thirties Singleton worked for the Conde Nast Press and the American Type Founders Company and in 1936 “joined the creative and sales department of EM Diamant Typographic Service, New York.” Singleton wrote a long series of articles for American Printer and Lithographer including one titled “Will Bradley” in August 1936. Singleton’s hobby was collecting “trashy literature,” and in 1937 he designed, edited and published Peeps into our Sub-Literary Past (and one has to assume the title was a nod to Frank Jay’s 1919 Peeps into the Past) a Repository and Treasury of Notes and Queries on the Popular Writing of the Nineteenth Century, a Serial Revelation of a Vanishing Underworld of Romantic Composition Left in Darkness by Literati. This was absorbed into the odd fanzine

19th Century Peep-Show
one time
Peeps Into our Sub-literary Past
With Which is Also Incorporated
Penny Packets of the Past - Penny Plain Twopence Colored
Mail Order Advertisement Collector - The Excelsior Printer
The Magic Lantern Entertainment -- The Trail to the West
The Gaslit Gazette -- And -- But You Get the Idea!

Mike Saavedra, who supplied the illustrations, writes:

This small publication featured numbered paragraphs of bibliographic sparklets, including a bunch by J. Edward Leithead, notably Buffalo Bill Multi-Storied Border King.Singleton also wrote and printed The Hardnox Companion to Trashy Literature: A Street-Sheet Guide to the Cheap Popular Print of the Nineteenth Century, Praising Fireside-Favorite Authors of the Golden Pre-Typewriter Era. His collection must have been considerable, but no one knows where it ended up. Since he lived in Florida in the pre-HVAC era, sugar ants may have feasted on it. Singleton grew up in the 1880s and was a first-generation reader of dime novels.

*See Peeps into our Sub-Literary Past HERE

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