Vintage Letterhead Design

Let's talk history for a moment, shall we? Remember the days before texting, instant messaging and email? Those evenings of nervously chatting with your crush on your parents' landline aren't too far gone, and are fairly easy to recall if you're a thirty-something woman like myself. But let's go farther back, before the dawn of computers, telephones and even telegraphs.

Prior to the telegraph, if one wanted to send information across any considerable distance, letter writing was one of the only options. Folks depended on the post office to deliver the mail, whether it was an intimate handwritten love letter on perfumed stationery or straightforward business correspondence on company letterhead.

As a lover of family history, I've spent time pouring over personal letters from friends and family throughout the years. They document everything from daily life and small talk to world travels and paramount life changes. I love the content of these notes, but I'm also intrigued by what they were written on, whether a small postcard or a larger piece of paper with (or without) letterhead. 

Apparently, Shaun Usher was of that same mindset - design over content - when he created Letterheady, a Tumblr blog dedicated to sharing letterhead design. Many of those included are vintage and come from recognizable desks. Shaun also runs Letters of Note and Lists of Note, two sites I feel I could get into as well. Anywho, below are a few of my favorite letterhead designs from the blog. Enjoy!

Vintage letterhead from Frank Lloyd Wright
Vintage letterhead from Wijnu
Vintage letterhead from Life Magazine
Vintage letterhead from Ginger Rodgers
Vintage letterhead from Henry Miller
Vintage letterhead from Carl van Vechten
Vintage letterhead from Shirley Temple
Vintage letterhead from Photographische
Vintage letterhead from Marcel Marceau
Vintage letterhead from Boots

Images via Letterheady