2.03.2010

Vintage Martha

A reader sent me this scan from a January, 1968, issue of House Beautiful. As she was flipping through the pages, she was struck by the familiarity of a face in a vintage ad for stationery. Surely you'll be able to determine the identity of the sophisticated model in the photograph! It's actually spelled out for us in the caption: "We created the feel of kid - it's decidedly expressive - for Ms. Stewart's letters." Yes, it's Martha!

What's so funny and intriguing about this ad is that it's for Crane's stationery - the very company that Martha created a line of holiday and wedding cards with last year, 40 years after this ad campaign was snapped. I've often wondered how Martha managed to invent herself and the enormous empire she presides over. This ad and its implicit foreshadowing of a business deal to come seems to indicate careful planning, patience and insight into the possibility of partnership.

It's difficult to see in the photograph, but the stationery is actually embossed with the monogram, MKS (Martha Kostyra Stewart) I wonder what she's thinking. Probably, "One day I'll have a line of my own stationery with Crane's... Yes, one day."

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow, that's fabulous! I wonder if Matha has a copy of this mag or photo? If not, perhaps she'd like to own it, or at least to be aware of it. Is there any way you could find out?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps as part of her compensation package the company provided a gross of packaged engraved custom stationary ... Where is the irony in this situation ? Coincidence ---hardly if , perhaps she has maintained contacts and business deals over the decades. Are you suggesting Craine's was not involved in any of the martha by mail items of paper goods??

Anonymous said...

At the time martha was a columnist for the magazine is that the irony, they needed a paid staffer to sit for an ad but that is not irony it is convenient but i would like to have the ironic element explained i am trying o understand your linkage but he maybe she lives next door to an ad agency executive VP type and they set up a deal or the top dog at Craines's is a neighbor or they have offices in the same office building

Anonymous said...

"I've often wondered how Martha managed to invent herself" did you say "invent" wow you are now seeing the big picture. The Woman is an Advertising titian she is involved in advertising every step of the way and doesn't even call it advertising.that is the magic she is offering educational content the platform of her business these are code words to replace the word advertising is there not a top HBO series called mad men and it is about advertising as was Bewitched Darin Stevens was in advertising as was Rob Petrie(Dick Van Dyke show) it is something any magazine publisher editor knows a great deal great deal about that was a pun

Casco Bay Soap Co. said...

what a fun find! thanks Andrew, I enjoy reading your blog.
:)
S.

ANDREW RITCHIE said...

Oh my goodness, anonymous, you need to lighten up. I was not 'suggesting' anything by using the word 'ironic.' There's no big agenda behind the use of that word! I'll change the word to 'funny' if it will help you sleep better at night... Yeesh!

ANDREW RITCHIE said...

Just for the sake of clarity, Martha wasn't working as a columnist in 1968. She was a young mom working as a model and on the verge of becoming a stock broker on Wall Street. She didn't begin writing columns until the late 1970s.

Casco Bay Soap Co. said...

LOL! Andrew, I came back to see if you would post an answer to Anonymous. I see that you did change "ironic" to "funny" as well. Another blog I visit had a post a while back about how people can be very mean in cyberspace and say things that they may not neccessarily say in "real life". I think it's because your famous now. Take the good with the bad, I guess? :)

joshkp said...

Change "irony" to "funny," Andrew?!? Where's the funny in this situation? Perhaps she has maintained contacts in the stationery world! Are you suggesting that people with loads of free writing paper do not mail each other letters???

;)

Anonymous said...

My goodness, I guess there are English majors reading this here blog

ANDREW RITCHIE said...

Josh, I ought to get my mother the linguist on this situation, pronto! :-)

Nadine C said...

Martha is stunning, now and then. How nice someone took the time to send it to you. I am a new fan and really enjoying your blog. I go to Brimfield every year (I live there) and I am always hoping to see Martha!

Anonymous said...

The proper tool for the right job martha says that --why not the proper word for the correct message. well has MR weighed in yet.

Anonymous said...

Thanks andrew I did sleep well, but it was not because you dropped ironic-- my crusade is to educate people about the proper use of the word irony in a situation. and now I suppose more people than usual have looked up the definition of ironic and learned a thing or two. It is nice to see that fame has not well you still listen to us little people.

perfectingpru said...

I know you dislike the word 'hate' Andrew, but I am beginning to really 'hate' all of the Anonymous comments on your blog. They are rude to you. How one word can cause this much upset to people is beyond me. Maybe 'Anonymous' should have his/her own blog so that we can bring up issues that we don't agree with continually.

But anyway, I loved the photo and I love it how Martha once posed for them and now has products of her own sold through Crane. It must be wonderful to have someone model your own products just like Martha used to do for theirs.

Have a great weekend.

ANDREW RITCHIE said...

Well, Pru, as you know my favourite comments are from those of you who are NOT anonymous. (There's just something strong and proud about using one's name.) But I understand the need for anonimity sometimes and I don't begrudge anyone for being anonymous on the Web. Besides, there's always the all-powerful 'delete' feature in my comment moderation if I do lose my patience. I may have to end up using it more often, much as I 'hate' to. Beyond that, ignorance is bliss! :-)

Kate Coe said...

What a great find! She was a working model, and it's interesting to see how versatile she was.

Kenn said...

I love the photo! I love the look on her face.. I can see the letter now: "Dear Mom and Dad, I'm sitting here contemplating how to take over the world of domestic arts..Andy sends his love.."
:-)
A treasure of a collectible for sure!