Ford Times + Charley Harper


So, as some of you may know I really love old catalogs and magazines. I have a little stash of them and if and when I come across any that look at all interesting, I usually pick them up. It is even better when I find nice old catalogs/magazines that feature some other obsession or interest of mine, which is exactly what Ford Times has become recently.

From the Henry Ford Collection: "Ford Times began publication on April 15, 1908. It would be “published at intervals in the interest of the selling and business organization of the Ford Motor Company.” In 1946 the magazine was redesigned from one with an employee focus to one designed as “a bridge between the company and its dealers and its customers.” The orientation was almost entirely entertainment with a stress on travel. It continued in that vein until it ceased publication in January 1993."

Artist Charley Harper contributed a lot of his artwork to Ford Times in the fifties and sixties, so if I come across any, I usually pick them up. Plus, the articles are pretty cozy to read before going to bed too.


Some of his birds from Ford Times (1950s-1960s):


I love Charles Harper's work, not only for the obvious aesthetic reasons, but also because his work focuses so much on the natural world..wildlife. He and Roger Tory Peterson will always be my two favorite wildlife artists.

So, over the past year, since moving into this house, I decided it would be nice to frame some prints of Harper's that relate so well to what I have experienced here thus far (well, at the very least, little art cards to frame if the prints run too high...).

The fox, which will forever remind me of our summer Fox Family


The lazy sleeping Calico, to forever remind us of the day Minou found us:


The gang of raccoons to forever remind us of the fearless raccoon family that dig up the bulbs in the backyard, run away with my bird feeders, and dirty my back porch with their muddy feet:


And of course, the backyard window view to forever remind us of all our Backyard Friends and the view from my kitchen window, which makes washing dishes actually a desirable chore:


So, with that being said, I recently came across a Harper print and fell in love. It has the feel of his older work from Ford Times, which are my favorite. It's a very limited print that was hand screen printed by Charles Harper back in the early sixties and then sold via Ford Times. It is hand signed.

I haven't removed it from the plastic sleeve, and will leave it be until I can take it to get framed. I have never had anything framed professionally, as I have always cut my own mats and framed things myself. I am kind of worried about dropping it off some where and leaving it for framing (but I am also scared to frame it myself). But, I do love it to pieces....

Are there any special things that should be requested when getting it framed? I just want it to stay free from damage and well preserved.



Anonymous said...

Acid free paper and matting, of course.

Archival quality materials overall.

And glass that shields against the sun is especially important.

You might want to ask around at several different framing shops, to find out what they offer.

You could also ask a librarian at a university library archive, what he or she would recommend.

day-lab Blog said...


thank you for the info!! :)


Pencils said...

Are you going to buy the prints, or do you find them for sale? I'm also a big fan of Charley Harper. I'm feeling guilty because my mom gave me a seriograph of a blue jay (my favorite bird) last year and I put it away for safekeeping until I could get it framed and I sort of forgot about it. (I did get engaged and married in that period.) I really like the window one you posted from Ford Times. The magazine cover itself would be nice framed if it's in good condition.

Basically, as the first poster said, you need archival quality, and sun-resistant glass. I forget what it's called. It's not that expensive to get things framed, as long as the print isn't that large, glass gets very expensive the bigger it is. I like things framed as simply as possible, and without mats unless it's something quite small. I like the focus to be on the image, not on the framing job.

day-lab Blog said...


Thanks! :)
Actually, I was a photography student for several years, so I do know how to frame and I am familiar with all the archival mats and products etc. I even have a mat cutter system, and do cut my own mats quite often. BUT, I absolutely do not want to risk anything with this print by framing it myself. It's not worth it, and I will gladly put the money out for the piece of mind that can come from a good framing job.

I guess this is just the only print that I have not felt comfortable framing myself..the first time I wanted to leave that to a professional, you know?

I suppose I will just request everything that is protective for the piece..UV/archival etc. :)

And yes, the Ford Times covers that harper did are so great for framing, but I wouldn't want to frame them b/c I actually do like to have them out to peruse from time to time. I have thought about making some nice copies of some of the covers though, to frame perhaps...that would be a great alternative I think! :)


Rick said...

Can't fault your taste! Harper is one of my favorites, too, and his bittern family hangs over my desk, as it has for 30 years now.
If I were still at the ABA, I'd probably ask you to write something about the Ford Times covers for Birding. But I'm not, so you'll have to get in touch with them yourself if you're interested. (yes, this is a hint)
All the best,

Rick Wright

day-lab Blog said...


Thanks for the links to your blog (I think I have a lot of reading/viewing to do there) and the wingsbirds site (I would love to one day go on a birding tour trip and was actually looking into the details of a March trip to Costa Rica, mainly for plants, but there are some bird watching elements of the trip too!) The bird pictures are wonderful on your blog. :)


ann said...

I have a rather large collection of Harper's prints. I collected them for years. We are downsizing and I need to sell them. They are beautifully framed (archival)and I would be happy to send pics if you are interested. We own Cool Cardinal which was perhaps one of his most famous pieces.