Charles and his ephemera

Shelf Appeal magazine April 1938

Today I get to go to my own book launch. Not something I ever thought I would be doing.

I had a lovely job this year – to look through boxes and boxes of ephemera on shelves at MoDA that was collected by a graphic designer called Charles Hasler. Charles worked in London across the war years and into the Festival of Britain. He knew many of the ‘names’ in design, worked for some and certainly received Christmas cards from most of the others.

His ephemera collection reflects a life lived in design in mid-century Britain. It also reflects his own paper obsessions – among them Notgeld paper money, Victorian lithography, sheet music and wine labels. When he wasn’t designing for clients, Charles wrote articles on his obsessions. And he wrote extensively on typography, presumably something he didn’t manage to get out of his system as chair of the Typographic Panel for the Festival of Britain.

It has been a joy to pull together the seemingly random story of the Hasler collection. Researching rare, ephemeral pieces from many of the tastiest designers of the period was something that was right up my alley and down my street. Not least because Charles collected a tasty run of Shelf Appeal magazines – the namesake of this blog.

I like writing this blog. I like writing for magazines and catalogues. I like the fact I now have hard copy.


Jennifer Kennard

Delighted to learn this news! I just ordered a copy and excited to learn more about Charles and his collection of ephemera. A guy after my own heart. Congratulations Jane!


Ooo Jane I’m ordering this – however just started following you on Twitter and noticed you are preparing the next exhibition at Ruthin Craft Center – I LIVE IN RUTHIN!!! Can I ask if the book will be on sale there – they have a small selection of books for sale.


Purchased. I’m hoping you sell out on Shelf Appeal followers alone. Sounds like it’s been a terrific job perfectly suited. Well done you!


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