Or I could just buy a vintage typewriter...
February 10, 2020 8:42 AM   Subscribe

My husband's grandfather was a featured speaker at a civil rights rally in the 60's. As a birthday present, I was able to find an original handbill promoting the event. He also has a transcript of the speech his grandfather made. I'd love to frame them together -- but how do I incorporate the speech?

No one in his family has the manuscript or other physical copy of the speech, but it was recorded and transcribed. It was only about 5 minutes long, so it can fit on a single 8-1/2 x 11" sheet of paper in a 12-point font (and even more easily in 10-pt). I'd like to print that out and frame them both side by side (in the same frame). I'm just hung up on the art direction.

My original thought is to print the speech on heavy stationery paper, in a font like this, so it looks like it could be of the same era if you don't look too carefully. But is that being dishonest? Or is just putting it in Times or Akzidenz Grotesk or another 60's-accessible typeface true enough? I'm also open to using a more modern font, but what would be the best one to choose? The handbill is in all caps, looks like Futura but with some spacing irregularity that makes it look like it was probably hand-set. You can see it here.

The handbill itself is around 8" x 5" , so the size discrepancy could also come into play as a design variable I haven't given enough thought to. Appreciate all suggestions.
posted by Mchelly to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
He also has a transcript of the speech his grandfather made. I'd love to frame them together

So frame them together. You'll have given your husband the gift of framing two important documents, and researching and finding the handbill.

Is there a specific reason you feel it's important to recreate the transcript in a different font and/or on a different paper?
posted by JimN2TAW at 9:06 AM on February 10 [1 favorite]

Open to having a calligrapher transcribe the speech in roundhand or Spencerian script?
posted by bfranklin at 9:10 AM on February 10 [1 favorite]

I get what you're asking. I think you're right, that putting the transcribed speech in the very 60s-news era typeface isn't the best direction. Because you have one authentic document - the handbill - and having the transcription next to it trying to "look" authentic kind of casts an odd light over the actually-authentic doc.

I'd go with a different typeface for the transcript. Either of the ones you mentioned would be fine. They're more or less neutral, so don't read like they're "trying" hard to be something they're not, but they're also not distractingly modern.

It's going to be a beautiful gift.
posted by fingersandtoes at 9:13 AM on February 10 [4 favorites]

If it were me, I'd have someone important to your husband and his grandfather hand-write the speech, and then mount the handbill floating in front of the written words, but I'm extra like that.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:47 AM on February 10 [3 favorites]

Seconding finding someone who can calligraph the speech, and mounted so it frames the handbill.
posted by Tamanna at 9:52 AM on February 10

(Coming out of left field) You can have the recording of his grandfather embedded as an audio file in one of those picture frames that can play audio files.
posted by Julnyes at 11:17 AM on February 10 [1 favorite]

You could print the transcript on vellum, and then use that as an overlay in the frame.

Or more artistically, record the transcript and turn the image of that sound into a picture (a waveform)like this company does, and use that to surround the actual handbill...or something?

I agree that a frame with two openings in the matte will be amazing. (This is how my aunt frame some of my grandpa's WWII letters, in fact.) Anyway, this is totally a cool project and you rule!
posted by wenestvedt at 11:43 AM on February 10

I would look to museum exhibits for inspiration. You know how they often have an introductory essay on the wall at the entrance? Get a frame suitable for an object twice as wide, cut the mat so that the handbill is on the left half, print the speech directly on the right side of the mat. Maybe do a little stylized typesetting too, not fake vintage, but again, more like the quotes museums have scattered between the art/artifacts,
"...Speech speech speech speech speech."
Grandpa Mchelly
City, State
February 20, 1960

posted by yeahlikethat at 2:42 PM on February 10

Thanks for the suggestions so far - I'm loving a lot of these!

If it helps with answering, I don't have an audio recording or a true transcript -- I only have the text of his speech that someone transcribed at some time in the past, that I was able to find online. So the only way to put the words on the second half of the frame is (the excellent ideas -- thanks!) of having it done in calligraphy, or in my husband's (unfortunately terrible) handwriting... or of printing it. If I go the third route, I would love a suggestion of fonts to use, or of paper to print it on other than the linen stationery that I had in mind (or reassurance that that's the best route). Thanks!
posted by Mchelly at 3:06 PM on February 10

Could you link us to a copy of the speech?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 3:32 PM on February 10

> Mchelly: having it done in calligraphy, or in my husband's (unfortunately terrible) handwriting

I don't have the familial relationship words for this, but the ideal person would be whichever of your husband's parents is the child of this grandfather. Failing that, maybe an aunt or uncle (also a child of the grandparent)?
posted by Rock Steady at 8:11 AM on February 11

I would ask around and find an antique typewriter to borrow, and type it out on that thin typing paper that people used to use.
posted by exceptinsects at 11:31 AM on February 11

I think you are overthinking this really lovely idea, and that might keep you from getting it done.

I don't like the "hammer keys" font, it will be difficult to read especially in a 10 or 12 point font. Even a calligraphic font at that point size might be difficult.

Just print it on an acid free paper, either the same color as the handbill or a linen color stationery paper choosing a nice font offered on your computer.

Then I think you might enlist a professional framer to help with matting/framing/glass or plexi so that it can be passed down through the family.

What a treasure this will be!
posted by alwayson_slightlyoff at 10:48 PM on February 11 [1 favorite]

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