Illustrating Your Newsletter

Throughout most interesting publications there appear many illustrations.   How often we think "How lucky that publisher is to have so many talented artists on his staff."  The truth, fortunately for us, is just the opposite.   MOST PUBLICATIONS DO NOT HAVE A SINGLE ARTIST ON STAFF!

What they really do is collect existing, usable art work and illustrate their articles with it.  Many have collected extensive libraries of art material.   Theme publications, such as an S.A.R. newsletter, need only small collections.

Copyright laws are very complicated and can get the uninformed into a lot of trouble.   However, there are several basic rules that will prevent difficulties:

  1. Use only materials that are over eighty years old.
  2. Do not use any material that is marked "reproduced by permission of so-and-so".   (You may wish to write the owner of that particular piece of art and ask permission) .
  3. Avoid publications such as National Geographic and American Heritage, as much of their art work is original and copyrighted.
  4. During the 1800's, many of our publishing firms produced some very nice advertising art work, or had drawings engraved to illustrate their stories.  These are now out of copyright and are safe to use.

The question you are in no doubt asking yourself, is where do I find all of this material.  Following is presented a list of acceptable sources for revolutionary war period art work, along with comments that should be helpful.  Some of these sources are 'books in print' and are available at the larger book stores.   Others are out of print and can be found in used book and magazine shops.   All should be readily available.

  1. Old S.A.R. Magazines - back issues available from the National Society Headquarters.
  2. Pre-1900 U.S. history text books - available in most used book stores and are very reasonable.  Also, they can be found in 'thrift shops.
  3. American History Illustrated Magazine.  Available in used magazine shops - watch for their original art, however, most are l9th century copies
  4. Benjamin Lossing's Illustrated History of the Revolution is out of copyright and can be used freely.  We would suggest that under a Lossing illustration it be noted as such as his work is considered the best.
  5. Old copies of Harper's Weekly or Century Magazine are good sources.
  6. The publications of other societies, such as the Society of Cincinnati, etc.
  7. The Dover Pictorial Archive Series (In print and usually available at large book stores such as Barnes and Noble and Walden).  A catalog is available from Dover Publications, Inc., 180 Varick Street, New York, NY 10014.
    1. John Grafton's, The American Revolution, A Picture Source-Book.   (contains 411 copyright-free illustrations)
    2. Handbook of Early Advertising Art by Clarence P. Hornung (two volumes - Pictorial Volume - (20122-8) is better suited to our purpose.
    3. Dictionary of American Portraits by Howard and Blanche Cirker
    4. Early Illustrations and views of American Architecture by Edmund V. Gillon, Jr.
    5. Decorative Frames and Borders, by Edmund V. Gillon, Jr.
    6. The American Eagle in Art and Design. by: Clarence P. Hornung (321 different examples)
  8. Stationers also sell "Rub Off" letters in various sizes and type styles.   Decorations and borders are also available.
  9. The SAR Newsletters Committee has many pages of patriotic and Revolutionary War era clip art available.
  10. Many websites offer artwork and icons for free to use in non-commercial use purposes.

To use this acquired art is quite simple.  Before you lay out your article, choose the art work you wish to use.  Carefully noting the size of the selected piece, simply type the copy to fit around it.  If it is too big or small it can be reduced or enlarged by a photocopy machine beforehand.   Then, using rubber cement, paste in the art work or insert into your word processing program.  For offset printing you need not concern yourself about the edges of the 'paste-up' showing, as the printer's camera will usually eliminate it.   However, if you intend to use photocopy then you may need to carefully apply white-out to the edges so they don't show up as black lines.

Another facet of using this type of art work is that you can take several different pieces of art work, combine them into one that better suits your purpose.   It's very easy to do, and a few illustrations and photographs will make an otherwise dull publication come to life.