Signs of the Times

Collection Owner:
Cover Image:
Kinney Shoes storefront
Kinney Shoes, 306 Wall Street, 1936 - Image Source

Collection Facts


Historical Context

Augustus "Gus" Modjeska started his business in Kingston making hand-painted window and display signs for local department store Rose-Gorman and movie and vaudeville show posters for Kingston theaters. By the late 1920s, Modjeska opened a studio in the basement of Midtown's Broadway Theatre.

Following advertising developments of the times, Modjeska Signs expanded its product offerings to include storefront signs, wall advertising, truck lettering, billboards, war monuments and neon signs. In 1944 the studio relocated to Thomas Street. In the 1950s Modjeska's sons Paul and Carl joined the growing business which eventually employed twelve workers producing signs for businesses located in the Catskill Mountains and surrounding counties. Large billboards along the New York State Thruway were also part of their product line.

The images and memorabilia featured in this exhibit illustrate an important era in Kingston's commercial and economic history.

Scope of Collection

The Modjeska Sign Studios in Kingston took photographs of their installations which included store signs, hand-painted wall signs, neon signs, and billboards. This collection includes advertising signs from the 1920s through the 1970s.