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Pin-up Extra | news and glamour from The Pin-up Files - from vintage lingerie ads to alternative models

1 November 2010

Brown & Bigelow Licensing

"The Brown & Bigelow licensing archive collection is over 5,000 images strong, dating from 1896, and is rich with pin up girl paintings."

Gil Elvgren - pin-up girl
ARTIST:: Gil Elvgren
TITLE:: Sheer Comfort
DATE:: 1959

The copyright to hundreds of vintage pin-up works is is held by Brown & Bigelow.  Go to  Brown & Bigelow Licensing for their current catalogue and terms. Pin-up artists included are Rolf Armstrong, Al Buell, Freeman Elliot, Gil Elvgren (see illustration below), Earl Moran and Zoe Mozert.  

About Brown & Bigelow

Brown & Bigelow is a publishing company based in Saint Paul, Minnesota that produces advertising specialties, or promotional products, such as clocks, pens, cocktail spoons with corkscrew and cap-lifter, and advertising calendars. The company was founded in 1896 by Herbert Huse Bigelow and Hirm Brown.

In 1925, Brown & Bigelow began a tradition by publishing calendars for the Boy Scouts of America, many of which were illustrated by Norman Rockwell. In 1969, as a tribute to Rockwell's 75th year birthday that year, officials of Brown & Bigelow and the Boy Scouts of America asked Rockwell to pose in a calendar illustration.

In 1936, then president Charlie Ward paid the large amount of $10,000 to Maxfield Parrish for exclusive rights to his work "Peaceful Valley." Brown and Bigelow also published art, including works by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge, Rolf Armstrong, Gil Elvgren, Earl Moran, Vaughn Alden Bass, Mabel Rollins Harris, and Norman Rockwell. In the late 1940s, it was one of the biggest calendar printers in the world. employing some of the United States' best pin-up artists and putting calendars into an estimated 50 million homes.

The Brown & Bigelow Conference Room lined with Earl Moran Paintings
The Brown & Bigelow conference room, lined with Earl Moran paintings
Ward served time in prison for tax evasion where he became close friends with Morris Rudensky, infamous safe-cracker.

The company was also notable for the fact that it hired hundreds of ex-convicts.

The Brown & Bigelow Archive is a major collection of artwork subjects and photos accumulated as a byproduct of their calendar business spanning over 100 years. This archive was created by over 86 different artists who produced multiple subjects annually over a number of years.

See also Copyright :: general guidlines.

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