El Paso: The Watson Press, [ca. 1923]. Pictorial broadside, 16 x 9 1/2 inches, on cardstock. Minor soiling and toning, edges trimmed close to top and bottom borders. Very good overall. Item #WRCAM56125
A possibly unique advertising piece from the Watson Press, an active "Art Printing" shop in El Paso, Texas, in the first half of the 20th century. The central image of the broadside shows two African-American children in a distinguished home, one holding pencil and paper, and the other holding a handful of change. The image is captioned, "Comparing Savings." The promotional text below reads, "San Antonio and Chihuahua Sts. El Paso, Texas The Watson Press 'Advertising that Gains Customers' Art Printing Yearly and Monthly Calendars, Blotters, Maps, Fans / Monthly Service Mailing Cards and Folders Pencils, etc." All of the text is printed in a shimmering copper ink. A penciled note on the verso reads, "Sold to Williams Drug Store El Paso exclusively 1923." Contemporary commercial directories identify the owner of the Watson press as a caucasian man named Frank C. Watson. Here, he is clearly marketing his print shop to the African-American community, specifically the customers of the "Williams Drug Store." The only drug store under the name "Williams" in the 1922 El Paso city directory was the African-American-owned Williams & Morrow drug store at 401 S. Oregon. In fact, from the retail drug store listings in the directory, Williams & Morrow appears to be the only drug store in El Paso owned by African Americans, denoted as such by the "(c)" next to the business name, identifying the store's owners as "colored." The directory lists the owners as Jasper B. Williams and G.W. Morrow. An attractive advertising broadside touting the services of an El Paso printing house to the African-American community in the city in the early 1920s.