HATCH SHOW PRINT: The History of a Great American Poster Shop
Readers bleary and exhausted from the ceaseless hard sell of contemporary advertising will be refreshed and entertained by this loving and lavish look at a world of advertising that, if no less commercial, is certainly easier on the eye. Since 1879, when it was founded by the brothers for which it is named, Nashville's Hatch Show Print Shop has produced—using handcrafted letterpress methods clearly explained in the text—an astounding variety of posters and ephemera advertising everything from trailers to state fairs, wrestling matches to circuses, Roberto Duran to Dwight D. Eisenhower. But most of the work reproduced here in 190 lush color and b&w illustrations is devoted to announcements of musical events (unsurprising, given the shop's location), from Hank Williams to Bo Diddley, Emmylou Harris to Buddy Guy. Visual highlights include a strikingly vivid full-page portrait of Roy Acuff, trailer ads with the iconic immediacy of early Warhol and an ad for pure sausage that practically smokes off the page. Interwoven as well with the authors' engaging oral history (Sherraden and Horvath help to run the shop) are such tidbits as business letters from Bessie Smith and Col. Tom Parker, but the bulk of the book is rightly given to reproducing the posters that so powerfully evoke the music—and Nashville itself. (May 17)
Forecast:After changes of hands beginning in the 1950s, the still operational Hatch was donated to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1992. The book's pub date coincides with the opening of the CMHF's new, $37-million museum complex. Chronicle continues to solidify its position in packaging primary-source curios for popular consumption, from recent huge-scale projects like The Beatles Anthology to The Good Citizen's Handbook, a compilation of mid-20th-century government handbooks and pamphlets.