8 Moments in, Not the History of Paper… but the Paper of History!

We love paper – and it is not very difficult to make a case for the iconic role paper has played in our lives and history. Take a look below at a few watershed moments of the past century and notice the piece of paper, print or photography right at its center.

1920 – Women’s Suffrage

After a struggle that began in earnest in 1848 at Seneca Falls, NY, women were finally granted the right to vote in the U.S. through the adoption of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. The power of that small paper ballot and the extension of suffrage to all people changed the face of all elections to come.


1927 – Lindbergh’s Welcome Home

Following Charles Lindbergh’s solo flight across the Atlantic in The Spirit of St. Louis, he received a hero’s welcome in what had already become an American tradition, the Ticker-Tape Parade. Filling the skies of New York City with paper seems a fitting way to pay tribute to the pilot who worked hard to promote snail mail through the U.S. Air Mail Service.

Manhattan Project and Dewey Defeats Truman

1942 – The Manhattan Project

The notebook seen above on the right records an experiment of the Manhattan Project, the US Government’s secret race to build an atomic bomb during World War II. Noted on this yellowed paper is the world’s first controlled, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction, achieved on December 2, 1942.

1946 – “Dewey Defeats Truman”

The now infamously wrong predicition of the Chicago Tribune‘s banner headline has become synonymous with jumping to conclusions before all the facts, or in this case votes, are in. The presses rolled too soon, as Truman emerged the victor of the 1948 presidential race.

Eisenhower's executive order for Little rock and Photos of Guantanamo Bay Missles

1957 – Desegregation at Little Rock’s Central High School

Above (left) is President Eisenhower’s executive order of September 23, 1957 which sent Federal troops to Central High School in Little Rock, AR. One piece of paper – Executive Order 10730 – placed the Arkansas National Guard under Federal control and brought 1,000 U.S. Army paratroopers in to restore order and enforce the U.S. Supreme Court ruling of Brown v. Topeka Board of Education that overturned the “separate but equal” laws and enforced the desegregation of public schools.

1962 – The Cuban Missile Crisis

Printed photographs like the one above reached President Kennedy in Washington in October of 1962 and provided proof that the Soviet Union had installed medium-range nuclear weapons in Cuba which were capable of striking major U.S. cities and killing tens of millions of Americans within minutes. The world held it’s breath for two weeks until the Soviets agreed to dismantle the missles, thus averting international nuclear war.

Campbell's Soup Paper Dress and Earth Day

1966 – Warhol’s Soup Cans and a Paper Dress

Symbolizing the ongoing revolution in art, culture and marketing of the sixties, Andy Warhol’s screen printed images of a Campbell’s soup can even made an appearance as the ultimate in disposable fashion – a dress made of paper. Pop Art transported the commonplace and mass-produced into the realm of high society with a healthy dose of irony.

1970 – Earth Day

The modern environmental movement gained widespread attention in 1970 with the first celebration of Earth Day, symbolized by the now internationally recognized symbol for recycling. The “Mobius Loop” design was the work of a 23 year old college student named Gary Anderson. Today paper is an environmentally sustainable and renewable resource, and 87% of Americans have access to curbside recycling for paper products.

For any questions about print, marketing or communication, ask your printer. They can help you consider your choices and develop a marketing plan, long or short range. If they can’t, you have the wrong printer! The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!


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