Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Leonard Bernstein’s pencils

At the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles: Leonard Bernstein at 100, an exhibition of artifacts — desks, batons, manuscripts, an Olympia typewriter, and much more. What made me flip: five pencil stubs from the 1970s, two Eberhard Faber Blackwings, three Alpheus Music Writers. Try as I might (eight times), I could not get a satisfactory photograph: the lighting and reflections and shadows were against me. This photograph from the Skirball website gives some idea of the difficulty.

But here’s a photograph from the Bernstein Facebook page of some Bernstein pencil stubs, his “soldiers” or “little soldiers.” Look for the distinctive ferrules of the Blackwing (gold) and the Alpheus Music Writer (silver).

Sean Malone has written extensively about the Blackwing at Blackwing Pages. He has also tracked the history of the Alpheus Music Writer and a successor, the Judy Green Music Writer. His post on the Music Writers includes a photograph of Bernstein at the piano, a glass of pencils at hand, with several Alpheus pencils visible.

Related reading
All OCA pencil posts (Pinboard)

[I loved seeing Bernstein’s pencils, but it was The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited that made me tear up — a reaction I did not see coming. Kermit! He’s right here!]

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