Z. Taylor Vinson collection of transportation lithographsCreation: circa 1906-1913 Creation: undated
For over sixty years, Zachary Taylor Vinson (1933-2009) amassed a large and comprehensive collection of printed material documenting on the history of transportation, particularly automobiles. This small collection of French lithographs depicts early aeronautical and motor vehicle subjects. All but one were designed by either Ernest Montaut (1879-1909) or his wife, Marguerite Montaut (1883-1936). The final print is by poster artist Georges Hamel (1900-1972).
- Creation: circa 1906-1913
- Creation: undated
- Vinson, Z. Taylor (Collector, Person)
14 prints : hand-colored lithograph ; 17 x 35 in. 1 print : color lithograph ; 17 x 35 in.
For over sixty years, Zachary Taylor Vinson (1933-2009) amassed a large and comprehensive collection of printed material documenting on the history of transportation, particularly automobiles.
Born and raised in West Virginia, Vinson was a 1955 graduate of Princeton University. He served in the U.S. Army in Germany, then moved to New York City to work in advertising until he graduated from the University of Virginia Law School in 1961. Vinson practiced law with O’Melveney & Meyers in Los Angeles, California and the International Finance Corporation in Washington, D.C. until 1967 when he began working as a senior lawyer with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a position he held until his retirement in 2003. Vinson played a significant role in the drafting of federal safety regulations governing tires and those requiring high-mounted brake lights in the rear window of automobiles, which began with the 1986 model year.
At the age of four, Vinson was introduced to automobile literature when he was given a 1938 Ford trade catalog. Vinson began attending automobile shows to actively collect by the time he turned seven. He would ask that his parents drive him to Huntington’s “Automobile Row,” where Vinson would collect literature from the dealerships located there. By the age of fourteen, Vinson was writing to the British, French, Italian, and Czech embassies in Washington, D.C. to request the addresses of automakers in those countries from whom he could obtain literature.
As he grew older, Vinson collected trade literature from additional sources, including, but not limited to, automobile manufacturers, fellow collectors, memorabilia dealers, auto shows, and auctions. He eventually amassed so much material that he built an addition to his Virginia home to store it all, which he referred to as his “Autotorium.”
In addition to collecting, Vinson was an active member of automobile organizations. He was president of the Society of Automotive Historians from 1993 to 1995 and served as the editor of Automotive History Review from 1995 to 2009. Z. Taylor Vinson passed away at the age of 76 on October 25, 2009.
The collection is arranged alphabetically by title.
Scope and Contents
This small collection of French lithographs depicts early aeronautical and motor vehicle subjects. All but one were designed by either Ernest Montaut (1879-1909) or his wife, Marguerite Montaut (1883-1936), who continued to produce posters in her husband's style after his death. Marguerite's prints are signed "GAMY," an anagram of her nickname "Magy." The Montaut prints are hand-colored using the pochoir stencil-based technique and date from circa 1906 to 1913. The prints in this collection feature some of the attributes with which Ernest Montaut is credited with introducing to poster art of transportation, such as blurring backgrounds and using "speed lines" to show a vehicle in motion. Further, many of the prints emphasize the machine rather than its pilot or driver, which is also typical of the Montauts' style. Four of the prints show airships, while the others show automobiles and/or airplanes.
The final poster in the collection is undated and depicts a couple riding a motorcycle in the Art Deco style. It was designed by the French artist Georges Hamel (1900-1972), who signed his works "Géo Ham."
No restrictions on access; this collection is open for research.
Language of Materials
Z. Taylor Vinson collection of transportation ephemera (Accession 20100108.ZTV), Published Collections Department, Hagley Museum and Library.
Finding Aid & Administrative Information
- Z. Taylor Vinson collection of transportation lithographs
- Angela Schad
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- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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