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Charles Hasler collection of typography and printed ephemera

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 1383 CH
Held at: Middlesex University: Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture
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Full title: Charles Hasler collection of typography and printed ephemera
Date(s): 1800-1960
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: approx 35 boxes
Name of creator(s): Hasler | Charles | 1908-1992 | graphic designer and typographer


Administrative/Biographical history:

Charles Hasler was a typographer and graphic designer and played a significant role in many high-profile exhibitions, displays, poster campaigns and book publishing in Britain from the mid-1930s to the mid-1980s. His main areas of knowledge and expertise lay in typography and printing techniques (including photography) and to a lesser extent book binding. Throughout his career Charles Hasler lectured in typographic design and history and was involved with the education and professional development of print and graphic designers.

Hasler trained during the early 1930s at the University of London Goldsmith's College School of Art and at the Sir John Cass Institute and Westminster School of Art as well as taking some courses at the London County Coucil. After 4 years war service, he was from 1942 to 1951 an exhibition designer for the Ministry of Information and the Central Office of Information working on displays such as 'Dig For Victory', `Make Do and Mend' and `Nation and the Child'. He was also involved with the travelling displays on the exhibition ship the Campania. After the war Hasler was a senior designer and chairman of the Typographic Panel for the Festival of Britain of 1951. Involved with providing guidelines for standardised typographical styles for signage and for the official publications for the Festival, he designed and produced the influential Specimen of Display Letters for use by Festival architects and designers. He specifically worked on `The Sea and Ships' display.

He then worked as a freelance designer producing posters for the British Transport Commission from the 1940s to the 1960s, during which time he was also a consultant for the printing company Waterlow & Sons Ltd for whom he designed their housestyle. He also designed covers, layouts and occasionally contributed articles for publications such as The Penrose Annual, Architectural Review, and The Complete Imbiber (vols 4 - 12, 1961-1971) for Vista Books, and various companies' trade literature as well as many smaller commissions for company logos. He wrote and published articles about typography and printing technique (both contemporary and historical, particularly Victorian colour printing) and in 1979 his The Royal Arms: its graphic and decorative development, a comprehensive work on the development of the styles and decoration of crests in Britain, was published by Jupiter Books. He passionately collected source material in all of these areas the most general of which remain in his archive at MoDA.


Scope and content/abstract:

The Charles Hasler collection is comprised of printed ephemera, including greetings cards, cigarette cards, journals, invitations, books, exhibition catalogues, sales catalogues, prints, packaging, articles, books, business records, photographs, photocopies, manuscripts, slides, colour transparencies, newspaper clippings and journals and trade literature. There are also defined groupings of material, including designs and artwork, which usually relate to specific projects including: typography (contemporary and historical; particularly monotype), printing techniques (particularly colour), transport, Greenwich, architecture, wine, fashion, watercolour painting, book binding and photography. In addition, the collection includes material from the Ministry of Information campaigns during World War Two, including "Dig for Victory" and "Careless Talk Costs Lives" and material relating to the Festival of Britain, 1951.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

The collection is divided into broad categories comprising: Personal papers; Business records; Reference material; Paper ephemera.

Conditions governing access:

The Hasler Collection is not available to researchers at present until essential cataloguing and conservation work has been carried out. Until then, access to the collection will only be possible in consultation with the curator.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Reproduction of material is at the discretion of the curator.

Finding aids:

The Charles Hasler Collection is not yet available on MoDA's on-line catalogue.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Acquired from Charles Hasler's daughter.

Allied Materials

Related material:


University of Brighton, The Design History Research Centre Archives - Festival of Britain Typography Panel; Henrion collection includes works relating to Hasler; Gardner collection includes material relating to post-war British exhibition design. Reading University Library, Special Collections, Rare Books Collection - Great Exhibition Collection, includes material collected by Charles Hasler directly relating to the Great Exhibition of 1851 and the later re-erection of the Crystal Palace at Sydenham in 1854 and later exhibitions up to 1951; including: printed books and periodicals, pamphlets and ephemera, prints and objects. Victoria and Albert Museum, National Art Library Archive of Art and Design (AAD) - part of the Festival of Britain Archive; comprises of a small amount of material relating to the displays on the Compania touring exhibition ship: 'Sea and Ships', `The Land', `The Earth'

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled by Robert Baxter and Zoe Hendon as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project. Source: MoDA Hasler Collection website.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Mar 2002

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