This week's post was written by MGHL's student worker Kara Gordon. Kara is helping us digitize tear sheets in the Charles Craver Collection and came across a series of Balanced Pacific Sheets ads illustrated by John Gannam. To learn more about Gannam, check out the Charles Craver Collection finding aid.
I can’t count the number of times that I’ve seen the illustration of a girl on a bed reading the comics section of the newspaper ("Gone Gal"). Whether it comes up in a classroom slideshow or on my tumblr dashboard, it is an iconic illustration, even 65 years after its original publication.
I had no idea that it was an ad for bed sheets.
John Gannam actually did several illustrations for the Pacific Balanced Sheets campaign during the 1940's. Advertisements, unlike fiction, are property of a corporation, rather than the publication itself. In other words, you see the same advertisement pop up in several magazines. Such is the case with the "Fair Morning" illustration, which in 1946 appeared both in an April issue of Life and May issue of Ladies’ Home Journal.
Aside from the obvious scale shift to fit the format of the magazines, there are other discrepancies between the printings of this illustration. Life’s version is slightly cropped, making the woman an even larger component of the composition. The text, because of the format size, is spread out over three lines rather than four, giving the illustration even more prominence on the page. The most noticeable difference, however, is the color. The version in Ladies’ Home Journal was printed with significantly more magenta than the one in Life. The result is two completely different color atmospheres: a cooler spring morning in Life, a warm summer in Ladies’ Home Journal, all because of the percentage of magenta used on the same illustration.