If you’re just joining the Institute, welcome! The Institute of Official Cheer has been on the internet since 1996 or so; it goes fallow for a while, then springs to life with an enormous new project, gets some half-baked redesign based on some fancy I got that looked good right up until I uploaded it.

This is the most recent example of that, I suppose.

That’s what I wrote in January 2013, when the annual rejiggering had been completed - but that was just a new front page. Now the site’s been redone top to bottom, with a few exceptions that redesigning would only spoil. (Still haven’t redone Stagland.) Now the pages are resized so they’ll look better on tablets, and there’s a consistent navigation scheme. Tapping or clicking on the main image will take you to the next page. Breeze right through at record speed, ignoring the text and smirking at the pictures! If you like.

What can I say? It’s the Institute. It’s just a place full of stuff. Enjoy.


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Oh: and don't forget LINT, the Institute's Tumblr. Updated M-F, usually in the afternoon.





One of my proudest achievements: as complete a revival of the Gobbler as you'll get today. Assuming you want it. There was a time I thought this place was the height of gauche and kitsch, and while that's still the case . . . I've grown to love it. Go HERE.




The website that put lileks.com on the map for its 15 minutes, and led to two books I'm still living down. Upgrades always in progress! Go HERE.



Every few years I'll get mail explaining why underwear elastic was so poor in the 50s. But they can't explain the celery. Go HERE.


The ghastly designs forced on decent, hard-working Americans by the trend-setters. There's no justice, but there is this site. It's the original 1999 version of the site, revived for the present. Go HERE.




Comic Sins is the all-inclusive whizbang assemblage of illustrated delights. We have covers every Tuesday, and a bold, fresh new site on comic book advertising. Newspaper comics through the era can be found HERE; it includes the internet’s largest Lance Lawson archive. Big Little Books examines the chunky comics genre. The main page, where you’ll find a general menu, is HERE.




Part of the Decades Project that includes the 20s, 30s, and 40s elsewhere on the site. It belongs here because, well, THE SEVENTIES. We have the Faces of Price is Right, Ice Capades catalogs, a Tribute to Search, 1970s radio PSAS, and so much more. Well, not so much, but more. Go HERE.



The return - and total revision - of an ancient site. Advertising art repurposed as Actual Art, complete with pretentious commentary! Go HERE.



It's up Mon-Fri, when I remember. A panoply of the most curious ads from the 30s through the 70s. Go HERE.




English Fashion in the 60s and 70s. Yikes.  


Whoa, Nellie. A collection of men's fashion photography from the 50s, 60s and - shudder - the 70s. Go HERE



Vacation Pamphlets! From the Dells to the Ozark Deeee-lights. Go HERE.



He escaped the Orange Plague to bring you MEAT. Let's go HERE and read all about him.

In 1949, the Sunbeam Bread company put out a comic book to get kids to eat bread. Their secret weapon: an interminable history lesson that tied the jobs of iron miners and classical violinists to your toast. LINK.   A salute to everything deeply creepy about 50s and 60s "men's" mags. Old site due for a redesign. Go HERE.

An old collection of weary japery from the 20s, interspersed with hangover remedies. Go HERE.

  For years the Institute sent out a monthly magazine, the American Home Ironizer; here are some selections from the archives. Updated as our ongoing digitization of the archives continues. (Old site, c. 2000; updated 2012.) LINK.


How do you get kids to eat right and take their vitamins? Simple - scare the urine out of them with hideous meat collages! Meet the Dayalets - they're child-tested and doctor approved. LINK.   Before the personal computer came along, companies sold their big iron with carefully staged promotional photos. Thrill to the yesteryear mainframes and the bouffanted women who loved them! Go HERE.

A pamphlet describing the Glories of Socialist Opera! Please to be enjoying. LINK.   For years, newspapers could always rely on a dog photo to soften the grim news of the day. It was a boon for humans; we like dogs. It was hell on the dogs. A collection of newspaper photos from the 40s, 50s and 60s. LINK.