Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Stevens, Sundblom, Henry: "The best outfit from New York to the Pacific Coast."

In 1925 Haddon Sundblom's apprenticeship ended when he left the Charles Everett Johnson Studio to form Stevens, Sundblom and Henry with new business partners Howard Stevens and Edwin Henry. Coca-Cola became on of the new studio's first clients - and, in tandem with his early work on that account, Haddon Sundblom became an "important illustrator."


Speaking about the early days of the studio, Sundblom said, "Ed Henry was one of the first to leave for New York in the great exodus of the twenties. Steve and I continued to operate here in Chicago. The Depression hit us like a ton of bricks, but there never was a depression in the genius department. Naturally, I'm prejudiced, but a lot of people thought it was the best outfit from New York to the Pacific Coast."


"From the very beginning our studio had a special fascination for screwballs (the high-IQ type, of course) from all over the country. We had some sane people too, however, but we found out in the stormy struggle to succeed it helped to be a little nuts."


"We had in our gang authorities on every subject under the sun and, being extroverts, they were always ready and eager to prove it. Our studio was a 'Bughouse square' version of Benjamin Franklin's 'Junto.' We learned a little about the fine arts and quite a bit about all the other arts."


"To expound on anything to that bunch of sharpies one had to know his subject or else. The 'technique of thinking' (low animal cunning) became synonymous with survival."


* Many thanks to Tom Watson, who generously provided all of today's scans!

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