Sunday, March 28, 2010
and carry on...
Ever since I got into the antique business, I have been fascinated by the history of the objects that pass through my doors. It could be my Library Science degree that makes me want to research...and, that is what I do teach...but I do not think anything exists in a vacuum, and this phrase is popping up on pillows, china, and I have it on the hand crafted cards I get from my paper artisan.
It dates back to WWII England and the Ministry of Information (not to be confused with our current Ministries of Misinformation...aka media...chuckle). Winston Churchill appointed Brendan Bracken to design posters "to offer reassurance from the King to his people; they were to be 'uniform in style'; and they were to feature a 'special and handsome' typeface making them difficult for the enemy to forge."
The story gets more interesting.
The first poster designed to counter the bombing raids and possible gas attacks read: "Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution Will Bring Us Victory." Over a million were printed for billboards, shop windows, and town bulletin boards.
The second poster read "Freedom Is In Peril."
The third was kept in reserve in case the war became a lost cause, and that was "Keep Calm And Carry On." The crown, by the way, represents George VI. They printed more than 2 million, but it was only to be posted if Germany invaded England.
Flash to 2000...a British bookseller, Stewart Manley found two perfect originals in a box of second-hand books he bought at auction. As a friend commented when I told her this story, it was his Roadshow moment. The posters were recycled at the end of the war, and only a few were claimed by some government workers at the time. I imagine they wanted to forget those days.
Although Stewart wanted to make copies, his wife, an American, was hesitant. So, he waited until she was away for a couple weeks, and he had copies made. According to the interview with him that I found, he was upset that the minimum was 500 posters. He thought he could never sell that many...ha...he is over 40,000 sold now...not to mention towels, mugs, mouse pads, aprons...
In today's world, that phrase could apply to so many events...but it does have a ring of truth...so, keep calm, carry on...
Posted by Susan at 7:00 AM