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Illustration Art, Western Union, Spokane, Washington, 1916 (Sold)

Western Union Life Spokane Stock Certificate Design
Chicago: 1916
Watercolor, conte crayon and pencil on paper
12 inches diameter
20 x 14 inches overall
Signed center left of image
Dated and inscribed at bottom of page

This item is sold. It has been placed here in our online archives as a service for researchers and collectors.

An illustrative design, presumably either for a stock certificate, bank note or stationery emblem. It is extensively inscribed with a note from a Mr. Smith at Western Bank Note and Engraving, a printing firm in Chicago, to a Mr. August Wolf at Western Union Life in Spokane, Washington. Western Union Life is not listed as a subsidiary company of the Western Union Telegraph Company on the Smithsonian Institute’s site devoted to the Western Union Telegraph archives. However, there is an online reference to a Western Union Life Building in Spokane in 1912 (see “Charles Jasper” below). It was probably an insurance company, an assumption supported by this drawing, which features a serene man in Roman classical garb reclining in the foreground, while behind him are a mother and child in contemporary dress, with a sunburst motif filling the background. The implication is that the company plays a positive patriarchal role in protecting women and children.

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Inscription on bottom reads:

Mr. August Wolf: Western Union Life, Spokane Washington

Dear Mr. Wolf,
This will be the third design and to the author the most appropriate for the purpose intended. I hope that one of the suggestions may please you. After you have given them sufficient consideration kindly return them to me at the Western Bank Note and Engraving Co. Chicago. 118-132 E 20 Street.

The design can be executed in any medium and I trust that I may hear that you have selected one of them when I reach Chicago about June 1st 1916.

[illegible]shander Smith
May 8th, 1916


“Charles Jasper.” Spokane and The Spokane Country – Pictorial and Biographical – Deluxe Supplement. Vol. II. The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1912. (No author listed.) pgs. 224-226. (6 June 2002).

Additional information


20th Century