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.