a model man

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As part of my research for The Typewriter book, I am looking at a lot of old ads spanning the last century. The ads are full of images of people: models, mystery hands... men, women and children (and the occasional fox) employed at the time to represent the typewriting experience in some way. For the most part, they remain uncredited, anonymous folks from decades ago. Imagine my surprise and delight when Amy Rowan emailed to share these photos and ads starring her grandfather!

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Her grandfather, George Thomas Fitzsimons, was a model in the 20s and 30s. 

He and I were very close, Monday, September 10th will be the seventh anniversary of his passing. I believe I got much of my creativity from him. He was an inventor and a tinkerer (a mechanic by trade) and always taking pictures with his modified point-n-shoot. I put a selection of his modeling portfolio on flickr. There you can read the intro I wrote for the book I made for family. He supported his family during the depression (his two siblings were also in show business but not as successful). He has a small appearance in the 1932 Oscar-winning movie The Grand Hotel, but it's only a flash of him as a bellhop and then he's gone. He starred in a silent movie, you can see images from that in the photo pool. I could relay a million different stories—his brushes with death at a Macy's shoot, getting picked up in a limo in his small town, refusing to undress for a swimming scene... I guess his greatest achievement as a model was sitting for Norman Rockwell.

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Thank you, Amy, for sharing your grandfather's story.