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Globe Poster Printing Corporation records

 Collection
Identifier: MS-0755
Globe Poster Printing Corporation was founded in 1929 in Baltimore, Maryland by business partners Harry Shapiro and Norman Goldstein. The shop specialized in printing showcard posters for movie theaters, vaudeville and burlesque acts, the earliest performers of country and Western music, motorsports events, and carnivals. The company later extended its services to a variety of products such as banners, tickets, and bumper stickers, in the process reaching a clientele based in the birth of rock and roll music during the 1950s.

The Globe Poster Printing Corporation records, 1929-2011, consist of the company’s business records, posters and other printing output, production process materials, and letterpress cuts, with each main series spanning varying periods of time.

Dates

  • 1929-2011

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

Materials managed by Johns Hopkins University are open for use. These materials are housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval.

Some of the materials in this collection, including all of the cuts and selected posters and other items that form the Teaching Collection series, are located at MICA. These are also available for use but may be subject to different retrieval and access procedures than the materials managed by JHU. Contact Special Collections for more information.

Collection is open for use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.

Certain resolution restrictions may be placed on parts of the collection, including the posters, per the agreement between MICA and JHU. Please contact Special Collections for more information.

Extent

382.23 Cubic Feet (1145 containers managed by JHU are reflected in the extent. MICA manages an additional 764 containers with an extent of approximately 260 cubic feet, meaning the overall extent of this collection is 642.23.)

Biographical / Historical

Globe Poster Printing Corporation was founded in 1929 in Baltimore, Maryland by business partners Harry Shapiro and Norman Goldstein. The shop specialized in printing showcard posters for movie theaters, vaudeville and burlesque acts, the earliest performers of country and Western music, motorsports events, and carnivals. The company later extended its services to a variety of products such as banners, tickets, and bumper stickers, in the process reaching a clientele based in the birth of rock and roll music during the 1950s. The company spent its 81 years operating in rented warehouse spaces in Baltimore, starting at 113 Hanover Street, moving to 123 Market Place in 1964, 1801 Byrd Street in 1979, and to its final location in 1999 at 3705 Bank Street. The company was owned and operated primarily by two families. Harry Shapiro and Norman Goldstein left Globe in the charge of an employee, Sidney Gibbs, in the 1930s, and Harry’s brother, Norman Shapiro, took over in 1954 and ran the business until 1975. In 1935, Joseph Cicero, Sr. began his tenure at Globe cleaning type and continued working in various jobs until he was foreman. Shapiro sold the company to Cicero in 1975. The company was in debt at time of transfer due to a loan and Shapiro’s secretary, Mildred, stayed on and quietly helped Shapiro siphon off around $50,000 before Cicero found out and let her go. These losses meant there would not be a profitable year until 1988. Joseph, Sr. was the owner until formally retiring and handing operations over to his three sons, Joseph, Jr., Francis, and Robert in 1990. Robert (Bob) began working at Globe in 1965 in the compositing room with the main compositor at the time, Lucous Horne and his backup, Ed Keyser, by putting type away. Off and on for the next 40 years, Bob would pick up new skills at Globe whenever they needed back up, such as running the large poster press, using the Film-o-type machine, shipping, and screenprinting. In 1969, Bob was drafted and served two years in the Navy Reserves during the Vietnam War. He then worked for Black & Decker as an engineer until leaving in 1975 to assist his father in running Globe. Francis (Frank) was a social worker before becoming the voice and face of the company, taking orders by phone and in person, drawing sketches, calculating costs, and printing invoices. Joseph, Jr. (Joey) was an accountant, and continued such work at Globe, tracking the company’s finances. In 1995, Globe experienced significant setbacks involving the loss of a large commercial client’s business (Eastfield Container) to a competitor and a last-minute cancellation and disagreements with promoters over a costly music concert poster order. These events forced Globe to lay off many employees, creating a staff shortage and a long struggle to keep the business open. Globe finally closed in 2010 and sold a large portion of its assets to the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2011. Globe Poster printed their posters using only letterpresses at their start, expanding to include offset lithography and screen printing operations, before migrating to largely computer-aided processes throughout the 1990s and 2000s for the sake of speed. Globe had an in-house artist, Harry Knorr, who worked for Globe for nearly 50 years. Harry was responsible for creating much of Globe’s iconic imagery and for the licensing of Day-Glo ink colors around the 1950s, resulting in their posters being desirable and easily recognized. Knorr developed the overall visual style of Globe with his hand-drawn lettering carved into linoleum or wood, with words and images (visual imagery). The posters were frequently laid out to be read quickly and easily, punctuated with images of the featured people reproduced by using photographs converted to metal plates, known as photo cuts. Globe consistently used Knorr’s original designs throughout its history. When Globe began implementing computer systems, “clip art” and computer fonts also made appearances on their later posters. Globe's design and color choices were noticed on streets and walls by the nascent musicians and managers of rock and roll music by the 1960s, securing these artists and thousands to follow as their regular clientele. Globe received orders from artists made popular by the likes of Motown and Stax records and those performing on the Chitlin Circuit, promoting the careers being built in R&B, soul, blues, and funk music. A great number of Globe's clients were African-American. The color and style of Globe was unofficially adopted by the Go-go scene in Washington D.C., becoming synonymous with the frequent shows. Globe also helped advertise the rise of hip hop and rap music and the growing popularity of reggae. Globe posters were also popular for political campaigns as well as the promotion of gospel plays and musicals, the black comic community, parties and contests at night clubs, performing arts, festivals, small community events, and sporting events. The company would also fill orders for signs and other products for commercial and business enterprises. Globe Poster had a wide variety of patrons in their earliest decades, for which there is only a small representation in this collection. Show cards were printed for horror and spook shows, films, country western shows and concerts, magicians, blackface performances, burlesque and vaudeville shows, and other common forms of entertainment in the early 20th century. There is evidence in this collection of the production of these early jobs thanks to the materials used to print the final poster, such as letterpress cuts and hand-cut rubyliths. Geographically, Globe received and sent orders for clients up and down the East coast, into to the Midwest, and down into the South, including Texas. Other regions of the country contained less common patrons due to high freight costs and the presence of other printing business options.

Scope and Contents

The Globe Poster Printing Corporation records consist of the company’s business records, posters and other printing output, production process materials, and letterpress cuts, with each main series spanning varying periods of time. Geographically, Globe received and sent orders for clients up and down the East coast, into to the Midwest, and down into the South, including Texas. Other regions of the country contained less common patrons due to high freight costs and the presence of other printing business options. The majority of the business records are from the company’s operation under the Cicero family (1975-2010) and document the process of creating a poster or other product, including the order forms, rolodexes, and correspondence tracking customer orders; ledgers and invoices showing financial transaction between Globe and the customer; forms, proofs, and imagery files detailing the design and revision process, and receipts for the supplies and equipment used to create the final product, and even samples of supplies sent from manufacturers. These records overlap with the financial and administrative oversight of Globe as well as some early affiliated printing businesses: Globe Atlanta-Chicago-Dallas-Philadelphia-Pittsburgh, Triangle Poster, and Southern Poster (1934-1947). The governance and financial records for all of the above can include originating documents, meeting minutes, building leases, legal activities, and ledgers and printouts generated by accounting and span the entire company history, with some periods documented more heavily. The business records also include a selection of personal effects of the primary families in charge and information about trade shows for the amusement business they frequently worked with (1970s-2000s). The product for which Globe made their name in this collection is wide-ranging, yet only retains bulk amounts in the areas of carnival, fair and circus posters, music posters, and political posters, as well as other community-related advertisements. Music posters largely span the 1970s through the 2000s, with a few from earlier decades, and some reprints of popular posters of the 1960s reprinted in the 1990s. Carnival posters number in the thousands, and some posters from the 1960s and 1970s appear, but are generally of the 1980s through 2000s period. The posters for gospel plays and musicals, the black comic community, parties and contests at night clubs, performing arts, festivals, small community events, and sporting events are also largely from the 1980s through the 2000s, as well as the signs and other products for commercial and business enterprises are from this time period as well. In addition to the posters and banners, Globe printed paper items such as flyers, tickets, and menus, along with bumper stickers. The bumper stickers cover the widest range of time, especially if one includes the production process records for them, including the 1950s and beyond. The bulk of the flyers and tickets and other ephemera are dated from the 1980s to 2000s. The posters and other product generated by Globe required various processes, tools, and equipment to create and are a critical part of understanding the breadth of Globe’s work, as this material includes the precursor materials to Globe’s earliest output. The processes used to fill orders changed over the years, creating a wide variety of materials used in the production process. Those contained in this collection include thin sheets of plastics such as film positives and rubyliths. A wide variety of paper materials are included such as poster-size, pencil-sketched proofs, mockups and layouts, along with artwork in varying mediums. There are files filled with the magazine clippings and clip art referred to or used by artists, as well as the photographs, publicity slicks, and album covers converted into either photo or image cuts. The final element of the Globe collection is the three-dimensional objects known as cuts. Every block has a wooden base and is topped with a manufactured metal plate or carved linoleum, or has enough height to be carved into directly. These blocks number in the thousands and span the entire company history and are helpful in filling in the gaps for Globe’s early decades.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Globe Poster Printing Corporation's records were purchased by the Maryland Institution College of Art in 2011 from owners Robert and Francis Cicero. MICA and Johns Hopkins University agreed to share access to the collection in 2015.

Related Materials

An oral history conducted with Globe's last owners, Frank and Bob Cicero, is currently being processed. Please contact Sheridan Libraries Special Collections for more information.

Sponsor Information

This collection was processed with the support of a Cataloging Hidden Special Collections grant, funded by the Council on Library and Information Resources.

Processing Information

This collection was processed from 2015-2017 by Emily Hikes with assistance from William Chapman and Amber Rhein. It was processed with the support of a Cataloging Hidden Special Collections grant, funded by the Council on Library and Information Resources.

Creator

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Contact:
The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA