About 4 Color Cowboy
Howdy, folks. 4 Color Cowboy originally began in circa 2016 as a Tumblr blog devoted to sharing kitschy images of cowboys, cowgirls, Native Americans, horses, cattle and other typically “Western” stuff. In time, it evolved into a place for overlooked printed ephemera of all kinds—including advertising, magazines, books, brochures and other forgotten items—mostly dating from the mid-20th century. The Blogspot edition of 4 Color Cowboy launched in September 2018 with this post highlighting the 50th anniversary issue of “Readers Digest” magazine from 1972.
Why this? A couple of years ago, I started volunteering for a local organization which puts together an annual used book sale for a handful of literacy charities. Amongst other benefits, working for them intensified my passion for the weird and wonderful world of vintage printed stuff. Everything you see on 4 Color Cowboy was retrieved from the hundreds (perhaps thousands?) of items not selected for the sale—the slightly damaged, the forgotten, the obscure and unlamented. It is precisely this kind of stuff that excites me and makes me want to catalog and share it with the world—even on a little-seen blog such as this one. Although I make my living as an artist and designer, doing this blog helps scratch the wannabe-librarian itch in me.
In closing, I’d like to offer a debt of gratitude to the excellent ephemera-hunting weblogs which inspired and influenced this one: Papergreat, Martin Klasch, Tenth Letter of the Alphabet, Burning Settlers Cabin, Codex 99, 50 Watts, No Relevance, Cranbrook Kitchen Sink, and Past Print. Thanks!
Photograph: from Inside Phoenix 1979 (Phoenix Newspapers, 1979).