Publications

PUBLICATIONS

Vintage: California Wine Labels of the 1930s Well Aged: California Whiskey and Spirits Labels of the 1930s

Vintage: California Wine Labels of the 1930s
Well Aged: California Whiskey and Spirits Labels of the 1930s
Edited by Christopher Miya and Ashley Ingram

Vintage: California Wine Labels of the 1930s and Well Aged: California Whiskey and Spirits Labels of the 1930s illuminate a near-forgotten artisanal legacy tucked among the archives of the California Historical Society’s Kemble Collections on Western Printing and Publishing.

Book Series

Wine and Spirits Labels from the CHS Collections

With Heyday, CHS co-published a two-book series of California’s culinary design history featuring Depression-era labels from CHS’s Kemble Collection on Western Printing and Publishing.

In the midst of the Great Depression, hundreds of thousands of bottles of mass-manufactured, highly alcoholic wines and liquors invoked fantasies of the good life—due in no small part to their inebriating contents, but also aided by exquisite labels produced on an industrial scale by the anonymous designers working for the Lehmann Printing and Lithographing Company of San Francisco.

Mass production does not typically correlate with the finest quality, but the Lehmann factory defied expectations: working within a house style defined by vivid hues, adventurous lettering, and Art Deco sensibility, these labels exhibited a seemingly inexhaustible creativity executed at the highest standards of craftsmanship. And as much as the labels advertised a particular brand, they also marketed the myth of California.

The Lehmann artists frequently employed images of a romanticized past, whether medieval or Mission era, to brand the product as the fruit of an idyllic paradise free from the ills of history or even contemporary anxieties. It is perhaps no surprise, then, that the beautiful labels gathered in Vintage and Well Aged reveal startling contrasts to—and similarities with—today’s design-driven culture.

California History Sesquicentennial Series

From 1988 to 2003, CHS and UC Press published California History Sesquicentennial Series. These volumes of California History essays by leading scholars reinterprets important themes of the state’s history, from the earliest days through the Gold Rush and up to 1870.

Taming the Elephant: Politics, Government, and Law in Pioneer California
Taming the Elephant: Politics, Government, and Law in Pioneer California, John F. Burns and Richard J. Orsi, eds.
Rooted in Barbarous Soil: People, Culture, and Community in Gold Rush California
Rooted in Barbarous Soil: People, Culture, and Community in Gold Rush California, Kevin Starr and Richard J. Orsi, eds.
Contested Eden: California Before the Gold Rush
Contested Eden: California Before the Gold Rush, Ramón A. Gutiérrez and Richard J. Orsi, eds.
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