Late 19th Century Graphic Design in Raleigh

Late 19th Century Graphic Design in Raleigh

Hype Stationary and Bills

April, 14, 2009, by Ladye Jane

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Check out a few samples of some old billing statements and letterheads from 19th century downtown Raleigh businesses. These days, you would be hard pressed to find any business that pays such attention to detail in producing a bill.

1874 billing statement from Edwards & Broughton, one of Raleigh’s longest running businesses. The printing company was formed 1871 by Cornelius Bryant and N.B. Broughton.

1876 stationary of Thomas Stevenson

1881 bill from Briggs Hardware, another one of Raleigh’s oldest businesses, and builder of North Carolina’s first “skyscraper” (the Briggs building was once the tallest at a whopping 4 stories).

1880 bill from W.B. & A.B. Stronach Grocers and Candy Manufacturers

Letterheads are part of the Raleigh City Museum permanent collection.



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Olde Raleigh, Other posts by Ladye Jane.


Olde RaleighGraphic Design


  • David
    04/14 01:32 PM

    Just beautiful LJ, thanks for sharing.

  • Daniel
    04/14 01:52 PM

    Wow! These are incredible. Where did you find them?

    You can tell so much attention went into every little detail. The handwriting is so beautiful, too.

    Thanks for sharing!!

  • katie
    04/14 02:41 PM

    so you’re telling me if i’d never used a computer i could have amazingly sexy handwriting like that?! that is how you write a love letter, my friends.  instead of mine, which are usually via twitter.

  • King Dubby
    04/14 02:57 PM

    “These days, you would be hard pressed to find any business that pays such attention to detail in producing a bill.”

    Credit or Debit?

  • Micah
    04/14 03:22 PM

    These are bills of sale, though it looks like one of them is an invoice.  This is mostly equivalent to the modern receipt, so all business receipts today are more detailed than this, they just aren’t on nicely designed letterhead with handwritten items.  A modern receipt has the store name, store number, address, telephone number, transaction number (usually both for the store itself, and and approval number if a credit/debit card was used), a string of numbers and codes that identify the individual transaction within the stores POS infastructure, an itemized list describing what was purchased with the itemized prices, a subtotal, a line showing any taxes levied, a grand total, a payment line showing how much of the grand total was paid and by what means.  Also, the store owners can add any advertising they want to the front and back of the receipt.  It is the same thing, just a different century.

  • Jenny
    04/14 03:31 PM

    Uhhh… pretty sure when she said “detail” she was talking about the design, not the line items. Sheesh, what’s with everyone today?

  • Micah
    04/14 05:37 PM

    I think you might be right, Jenny.  Sorry I miscomprehended someone again today.  I’m so irritated that I’m only human.

  • Chad
    04/14 06:08 PM

    I’d say it’s more so an attention to use of ornamentation and styles of the period than detail. Some of these are well detailed in how the letterforms are composed with tracking, leading, and rhythm. Others kind of slacked on those details. On the third one down… it looks like the “C.” in “N.C.” is trying to secede from the union.

    Nice type and illustrations though, these are always nice to see.

  • Micah
    04/14 06:16 PM

    I wonder if/which of these have any hand-carved wood block printing on them?  I’m not well versed in printing processes from those days, but I know they used wood block and lead type.  Are the images all wood block engravings perhaps?

  • ladye jane
    04/14 07:16 PM

    These are probably lithographic prints - when an image was drawn onto a stone/plate using oil-based medium, then the plate was covered in water, then again in oil-based ink. The water covered part repelled the oil-based ink, leaving the image to be the only part printed.

  • Brick
    04/14 08:17 PM

    I’d venture a guess that Stronach is the namesake of Stronach’s Alley between Blount and Wilmington south of Cabarrus.

  • Barry
    04/14 11:05 PM

    thanks Ladye Jane! these are treasures. public appreciation of aesthetics of this nature is always great to see. makes me happy to think that all of the shoe boxes of my old receipts will some day end up in Ladye Jane’s great grandchildren’s collection. i’ll keep saving them!

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