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Catalog Data

Hales, Landy R., 1889-1972  Search this
5.5 Cubic feet (15 boxes)
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photograph albums
Design drawings
1908 - 1969
Papers document Landy R. Hales (1889-1972), an inventor and commercial artist who designed window and interior store displays, posters, children's games, and puzzles primarily from 1920s to 1930s in New York City and Baltimore. Of significance is Hales's work for Macy's Department Store. The papers consist of correspondence, patents, business records for several of Hales's companies, photographs, drawings/sketches, prototypes, and newspaper and magazine clippings.
Scope and Contents:
The papers document Hales's career as an inventor and commercial artist as well as his work in games, puzzles, educational tools, and posters. The collection includes sketches and design drawings, photographs, publicity materials, clippings and articles, and game prototypes. Series 1, Brilliant Sign Company, 1908-1909, consists of stock shares, transferred by Hales to others in the amount of twenty dollars for the Brilliant Sign Company of Baltimore City, Maryland. Series 2, Landy R. Hales, Inc., 1927-1929, 1944, consists of of invoices, orders, and check stubs from R.H. Macy and Company and Gimbel Brothers, Inc. for work by Landy R. Hales, Inc. for window displays. The orders detail what will be constructed and decorated. The R.H. Macy materials also contain a 1927 souvenir from Macy's Wonderland Christmas. Included in this series is a 1944 United States Treasury Department War Finance Program citation to Landy R. Hales. Series 3, Hales Layer Poster Corporation, 1922-1969 (bulk 1920s), consists of materials documenting Hales poster company. Hales's formed Hales Layer Poster Corporation in New York State on July 16, 1925 to manufacture, purchase, sell and deal in layer posters and equipment for constructing layer posters in packaged or other forms. The corporation's other directors were Alfred J. Silberstein and Alvin A. Silberman, both of New York. Hales developed a new method of making a poster by placing cut-out pieces of materials such as composition board or wood on a background, then building layers to form three dimensions in the finished product. The first store to use Hales layer posters was Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City. The posters were never sold and were only used in advertising and window displays. The materials consist of stock shares and values, a certificate of incorporation, branded letterhead, correspondence, an order book (blank forms), a point-of-purchase ad featuring Little Red Riding Hood, a patent for a display device, layer poster instructions, examples of posters, sample card stock, and instructions for the ABCD Ease Game. The display device patent (US 1,563,485) was issued to Hales on December 1, 1925. The invention relates to display devices for commercial advertising arrangements constructed out of layers of veneer or cardboard for reproducing and illustrating articles for sale, magazines, posters or art works. The principal object was to provide a display picture having depth. The correspondence, 1922-1937, 1969 and undated, contains letters with individuals companies, hotels, and department stores primarily in New York City such as B.F. Keith's New York Hippodrome, Saks & Company, Hotel Nassau, Keystone Manufacturing Company, and Rialto Theatre. Much of the correspondence relates to services provided by Hales Layer Poster Corporation. Hales's correspondence with Morris Gest, a theatrical producer who introduced La Chauve-Souris, a touring revue during the early 1900s, to the United States. There is also a letter typewritten by Hales in 1969 to Pablo Picasso about copying Picasso prints using the Hales layer poster method. The instructions for "how to make" a Hales layer poster are well documented, detailing the step-by-step process and including the use of Hales Studio colors for painting. Specific instructions for the "Tom, Tom Piper's Son" with color guide are found here. A full, unused layer poster kit is in box 14. Additionally, Hales created the ABCD Ease Game, a board game played with dice with the objective to reach "ease." The way to reach "Ease" is through truth, courage, justice, thrift, study, work, loyalty, and honesty. Instructions and prototypes of the gameboard are represented. Series 4, Hales Manikins, Inc., 1938-1948 and undated, consists of correspondence, a voting trust agreement, board of directors meeting minutes, stock shares, a floor plan for the company, blueprints for rubber figures, and a patent for a manikin and method of making the same (US 2,129,421). Hales Maninikin incorporated in 1941 in Baltimore, Maryland to manufacture, distribute, sell and otherwise deal in manikins and other display advertising figures. The board of directors meeting minutes contain articles of incorporation, by-laws, and minutes. Series 5, Hales Pictures, Inc., 1937-1938, 1967 and undated, consists of an agreement with Walt Disney Enterprises, sketches by Kay Kamen, Ltd., a press release about Hales Picture Puzzles, and prototypes of Hales Puzzle Pictures. Of note is a copy of the February 1938 Rockefeller Center Magazine. The magazine contains articles about science, technology, publishing, the arts, events at Radio City Music Hall (Disney-related) and television. It offers good documentation of office business machines. The first series of puzzles Hales introduced in 1937 were four subjects from Walt Disney's characters: Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Pluto, and Donald Duck. The object of the puzzle was to put all of the pieces together in their proper place--some of the puzzle pieces were raised to different levels. After the puzzle was completed, it could be glued to a backboard. There are prototypes for the Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Donald Duck puzzles. Only the Mickey and Minnie puzzles contain puzzle pieces. The Donald Duck puzzle consists of the box only. In August 1937, Hales Pictures Inc., entered into a one year agreement with Walt Disney Enterprises that granted Hales the right to reproduce Disney characters for his puzzles and poster pictures. Hales paid Disney the sum of five-hundred dollars as an advance on future royalties. Disney also provided to Hales typical representations of the Disney characters. There are a series of Kay Kamen Ltd., Disney character drawings for Pluto, Donald Duck, Minnie Mouse, and Mickey Mouse. These drawings were provided to Hales by Kamen. The Minnie and Mickey Mouse drawings have been heavily annotated and mocked up by Hales for the purposes of creating his signature Hales Puzzle Pictures. Kamen (d. 1949) began his professional career as a retail hat merchant and later entered advertising. In 1932, Kamen contacted Disney, soon signed a contract, and was named the company's sole licensing representative. Through merchandising, Kamen made Disney's mouse star popular. Series 6, Hales Sign Company, 1909 and undated, consists of examples of promotional and branded pieces for Hales's sign painting business that was located in Baltimore, Maryland. Series 7, Drawings/Sketches, 1927-1930 and undated, consists of pencil, ink and paint sketches. The bulk of the sketches are Christmas-related, such as the poster study for the Macy's Christmas Wonderland, 1927 and the toy department displays for a bridge, drawbridge, house and tower. Other sketches include Noah's Ark, a matador, the "The Wise Woman of Gotham," Carlin's Amusement Park of Baltimore, Maryland, and resort scenes (tennis, golf and sailing). Series 8, Photographs, 1925-1935, consists primarily of black-and-white prints documenting Hales's work in his studio and for clients such as Macy's. Some of the photographs were taken by Worsinger Window Service, Hughes Company of Baltimore, Le Don Studio of White Plains, New York; Apeda Studio, Inc. of New York City; Schultze Studio of Brooklyn, New York, and H.C. Campbell Company of Oakland, California. Series 9, Greeting Cards, undated, consists of examples of greeting cards and postcards, primarily for Christmas, Easter, and Valentines Day, assembled by Hales. Series 10, Clippings, 1922-1935, consists of loose photocopies and original news and magazine clippings in a bound volume. The clippings primarily relate to Hales's work in New York City, but there are clippings about The Corner Shop at Macy's, and there are copies of illustrations assembled by Hales, specifically the "Best Fifty Small Folio Currier and Ives Prints. " The majority of these he clipped from the New York Sun. Also included are clippings about La Chauve-Souris the touring revue during the early 1900s.
The collection is arranged into ten series. Series 1, Brillant Sign Company, 1908-1909 Series 2, Landy R. Hales, Inc., 1927-1929, 1944 Series 3, Hales Layer Poster Corporation, 1922-1969 (bulk 1920s) Series 4, Hales Manikins, Inc., 1938-1948 and undated Series 5, Hales Pictures, Inc., 1937-1938, 1967 and undated Series 6, Hales Sign Company, 1909 and undated Series 7, Drawings/Sketches, 1927-1930 and undated Series 8, Photographs, 1925-1935 Series 9, Greeting Cards, undated Series 10, Clippings, 1922-1935
Biographical / Historical:
Landy R. Hales was born on September 17, 1889 in Baltimore, Maryland to Landy J. Hales and Fanny Linthicum Hales. Hales grew up in Anne Arundel, Maryland and had one brother, Wesley Hales. Hales began his career with no formal art training and apprenticed as a sign painter in Baltimore, Maryland. In 1908, Hales formed the Brilliant Sign Company in Baltimore to design displays for area businesses. In 1913, Hales married Lenore McCully. They had two children, Elizabeth McCully Hales (b. 1915) and Landy Romain Hales (b. 1921). During World War I, Hales designed posters for the Liberty Bond Program, created by then Secretary of the Treasury William Gibbs McAdoo (1863-1941). This poster campaign was intended to popularize the bonds, and Hales created posters using his "layer technique," which was a method of making a poster by placing cut-out pieces of materials such as composition board or wood on a background, then building layers to form three dimensions in the finished product. In the early 1920s, Hales moved to New York City to advance his career and expand his opportunities. In New York, Hales specialized in display devices, commercial art, and advertising. An artist-inventor, Hales patented two ideas, a display device (US Patent 1,563,485) and a manikin (US Patent 2,129,421). He founded Landy R. Hales, Inc. (1925), Hales Layer Poster Corporation (1925), Hales Manikins, Inc. (1941), and Hales Pictures, Inc. 1937. In 1937, Hales Pictures Inc., entered into a one-year agreement with Walt Disney Enterprises that granted Hales the right to reproduce Disney characters for his puzzles and poster pictures. During the same year, Hales leased office space at Rockefeller Center. Hales worked for Morris Gest, a theatrical producer, creating advertising for the Russian show Le Chauve Sourvis which featured the Parade of the Wooden Soldiers. Hales also manufactured and installed mechanical displays in Macy's Christmas windows at 34th Street and worked as an independent contractor for other department stores such as Gimbel Brothers and Saks & Company as well as the Hotel Nassau, Keystone Manufacturing Company, Rialto Theater, Keith's New York Hippodrome, and the Music Box Theatre. Hales left New York City in 1945 and returned to Maryland, where he did commercial work for Carlin's Amusement Park in Baltimore and created layer posters for himself and family members. Hales died in 1972 at the age of 84.
Related Materials:
Materials at the Archives Center Warshaw Collection of Business Americana, Parades:stereographs, circa 1880-1908 (AC0060) Messmore and Damon Company Records, 1930s-1990s (AC0846) Hudson Fulton Celebration Parade Photograph Album, 1909 (AC1149) William L. Bird "Holidays on Display" Collection (AC1288)
The collection was donated by Katharine Landa McNulty Hogben, Frances Helen McNulty Beverage, Margaret Ann McNulty Klipp, Lenore Hales McNulty Frey, and Elizabeth Stuart McNulty on November 27, 2005.
Collection is open for research.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Games  Search this
Display of merchandise  Search this
Toys -- 20th century  Search this
Store decoration  Search this
Parades  Search this
Parade floats  Search this
Show windows  Search this
Packaging  Search this
Parade float designers  Search this
Photograph albums
Design drawings
Photographs -- 20th century
Landy R. Hales Papers, 1908-1969, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
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Landy R. Hales Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History