We’ve all seen letterheads before—the text and design at the top of a letter—but we rarely stop to think about it. This roundup of famous people’s letterhead gives us a peek into their private lives. Letterheads are at least 4,000 years old—way back in 2500 BCE, a Babylonian priest drew himself at the top of a clay tablet, and the trend was officially born. Since then, letterheads have gone through a lot of changes, especially in the last 150 years. Today, they can be an artistic statement, an advertisement, or even a work of art.
Vintage letterhead designs evolved over time. In the nineteenth century, letterheads often featured a portrait of the writer, as with Abraham Lincoln’s letterhead. Distinctive designs became popular in the twentieth century. Iconic cartoonists like Charles M. Schulz, Chuck Jones, and Bill Watterson included their characters on their letterhead, as did Dr. Seuss. Some famous people chose understated, classic designs, like Elizabeth Taylor and Frank Sinatra, while others went with a louder look, like Ray Charles’s musical lines or David Bowie's glam letterhead.
Each letterhead is a glimpse into a famous person’s life and how they see themselves. Ray Bradbury’s intricate letterhead and J.K. Rowling’s Owl Post-inspired letterhead instantly convey something about the authors. Others, like John F. Kennedy and Robert Ripley of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!, use letterhead to loudly promote themselves.
And then of course there’s Richard Simmons, in a category of his own.
Cartoonist Charles M. Schulz of "Peanuts" Fame Couldn't Leave Off Charlie Brown And Snoopy
J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter-Inspired Letterhead Promises Messages By Owl Post
Ray Charles Makes It Easy To Scratch Out A Few Musical Notes On His Letterhead
David Bowie Went With A Glam Look On His Nearly Gold Letterhead
Calvin and Hobbes Chase Each Other Around Cartoonist Bill Watterson's Letterhead
Roadrunner Cartoonist Chuck Jones Shows Off His Speed On This Letterhead
Abraham Lincoln Made Sure You Knew Who Was Writing By Including His Portrait
Of Course There's A Dancing Richard Simmons On His Letterhead
Elvis Presley Lets You Know That He's Taking Care Of Business
John F. Kennedy Used His Letterhead To Gain Votes
Johnny Cash Went With The Strong, Silent Cowboy Typeface For His Letterhead