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Symbols Of America

July 2024
1min read

by Hal Morgan; Viking; 239 pages; $35.00.

This is a browser’s book, a coffee-table book for trivial pursuitists, a delight. Hal Morgan has collected more than one thousand pictures of American trademarks, divided them by theme, product, history, and design, and served them up with an intelligent text. They show our prejudices (exterminators in the 1890s were symbolized by Chinese eating rats); they illustrate changes in custom (“Heroin” was a trademark for an 1898 proprietary drug); and they point up our infatuations (the noble Indian, after he was conquered, became a symbol for practically anything). The 1870 devil emblem for Underwood Deviled Ham is the oldest registered food trademark still in use in the United States, and it is shown in all its design versions.

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