72 thoughts on “The Story Behind… The Columbia Pictures Logo

      • I just came across an ad in ad old movie magazine (The New Movie Magazine) was advertising that they are looking for Miss Columbia. There is a $250.00 movie contract waiting for her. It mentions to replace Miss Revier (beautiful Columbia star. The ad shows the current Miss Columbia draped in a flag and holding a torch. You were to write to Tower Magazines…Very unique item…I can email it to with directions to do so if you wish.

  1. Pingback: The Story Behind… « My Filmviews

  2. I’m w/ Scott, LOVE this series, brilliant! This is one of my favorite movie logos, it’s classy looking. Looking forward to which logo you’ll feature next :)

    • Thanks Matt! There are so many cinema history related questions one could ask and I enjoy finding the answers, so this feature will probably keep going for a while :)

  3. Hey! That’s the post I was wating for 😀 The history of the logo is so interesting, especially the story of the name Columbia. The version used nowadays is so elegant and beautiful. I think it’s one of my favourite logos!

  4. Great series, but whatever happened to 1944-1960, years which include Columbia’s two greatest successes at the Oscar: From Here to Eternity and On the Waterfront?

  5. Hey, thanx so much for creating such a good post, i’m doing a college assignment atm on company logos and film title sequences, and i found so much usful information on these logo posts of yours 😀 thankyou for the help! and not to worry, i have referenced all the quotes i borrowed, so my tutors no it written my me haha 😛

  6. Pingback: join the company | Clemens Buur

  7. For what it’s worth: when I was growing up, a neighbor named Mort Gelbard swore his aunt had posed for the 1936-1976 version of the logo. He was an extremely upstanding guy and I have no reason to doubt him.

  8. Pingback: CNN Uncovers The History And Secrets Behind Each Of The Big Hollywood Movie Studio Logos

  9. You’ve only told part of the story. WHY did Cohn-Brandt-Cohn need to change its name? Why did it choose Columbia?
    if you look deeper i think you will find competing strains of anti-semitism and (jewish) immigrant patriotism involved.
    The design arises from centuries old tradition of allegorical art, and seems to be directly inspired by st. gaudens design for the $20 gold piece as well as the statue of liberty. st gaudens was inspired by ancient coinage.
    the statue of Freedom atop the US capital dome is also called “Columbia.”

    if you dig deeper, you will find there is much more to the story. a story that is as much about the film industry as a whole as this one studio.

      • 1) it is well known that most of the movie moguls were Jewish. people who were jealous of their success and influence used age-old antisemitic tactics to belittle and denigrate them. This is all well documented in biographies of the men (Sam Goldwyn, Louis Mayer, Harry Cohn, Jack Warner, Adolph Zukor, David Selznick etc.) and histories of the studios. For a single book on the topic you should get AN EMPIRE OF THEIR OWN by Neil Gabler. http://amzn.com/0385265573 There is also a documentary of the same title from A&E http://amzn.com/B0009HMTEO

        2) i work in branding. i have named companies and developed logos, so i know all about the meanings of corporate symbols and the projection of brand values.

        3) i’ve read a lot of books and i’ve seen a lot of movies. i have a good memory for both as well as an academic turn of mind that lets me see connections between things. What i said about the Columbia and WB logos are educated guesses based on the stuff i do know.

        4) my dad is a coin dealer.

        5) i was a Congressional page

        i encourage you to revisit your “Story behind” posts and delve into the meaning of the studio names and their symbols. it’s a rich and rewarding topic.
        to get you started, here’s a bit about MGM. G, as you know is for Goldwyn. Samuel Goldwyn was Shmuel Gelbfisz from Poland. He translated his name into english and called himself Sam Goldfish. When he partnered with the Selwyn brothers they put their names together to call the company Goldwyn Pictures. Then he had his name legally changed to Goldwyn.

        • Interesting stuff, I would really like to revisit these posts (and also create a couple of new ones for logos I’ve not done yet), but a busy family life prevents me from doing it unfortunately.

  10. Pingback: Mountain to Moon: 10 Movie Studio Logos and the Stories Behind Them | BRAIN.LAFILM

  11. I collect old life magazines as they are like a 20th century time capsule of america. The cover of their January 1945 issue features a beautiful lady wearing chrocet togs ( head dress ). Her name is Evelyn Venable See http://www.originallifemagazines.com/LIFE-Magazine-January-8-1945-P1430.aspx

    She was a model and actress and she claims to be the model for the columnia logo prior to Jenny Joesph. See http://www.lucywho.com/p13662/evelyn-venable/

  12. Pingback: Columbia Picturesのロゴの歴史 | えっ!!!

  13. Hello, what a great article. I have the Columbia logo as my wallpaper on my screen.
    I absolutely love all the different eras of the logo and the Art Deco them through them. Where did you get that penciled image? I am looking for a high resolution version of the logo to enlarge and put on the wall in my theatre. Can you help?
    Thank
    you

  14. This is in accurate! It was Jane Chester Bartholomew No offense to the other woman but just because it was re-painted with her image does not mean anything. Was she invited out to eat at a dinner with the editors and executives? I don’t know, but probably not, My name is Erika Jacques and this article particularly offends me because that is my Nana, my great grandmother. Who I knew until her recent death and this is blasphemy and it deeply offends me that she did not get any credit for her works. If my Nana was alive today she would be highly offended
    (<3 rest her soul <3).

    • For the new version it is clear who was the inspiration as there are pictures of it available and the artist confirming who was the model. For the original there is a lot of discussion about who stupid model and that’s what I’ve written. If you can prove this in any way by supplying documents or pictures I’d be happy to reflect that in the article.

  15. Why do I seem to remember that Audrey Meadows was one of the early Columbia models? Hmmm. Not sure how that got in my brain but would like to know if anyone else has heard that?

  16. Fist of all I send my best regards to you.I founded filmp-roduction named “Abdulhakim Pictures Production LLC”.I want to make film jointly with your film company.I’m a theatre and filmscript writer.Now we have some filmscripts for full length films with a sharp dramatic plot which may compete with level of the most popular Hollywood films.Please send me your opinion.Yours Abdulhakim Ahmadov

  17. Columbia Pictures’s Statue Model Gem of the Openings Was Jane Chester:
    With the money she earned washing dishes and scrubbing floors, Jane Chester, a 16-year-old brunette beauty, bought a one-way ticket from Washington, Pa. to Hollywood in 1936. For more than a year she lived in a rooming house near the Columbia Pictures studio and made the rounds, trying to break into the movies.

    Discouraged, Jane was about to leave Hollywood when she, along with other girls, was asked to pose as the Statue of Liberty for what was to be Columbia’s screen “trademark.” “No one really knew if the picture would be used. We weren’t paid, but we hoped it could lead to something,” says Jane. When it didn’t, Jane moved to Chicago and later married. Two years later she was in a movie theater and suddenly her picture flashed on the screen.

    Over the years, only her family knew she was Columbia’s “proud lady.” To satisfy her grandsons, who did not believe Jane had been in the movies, her oldest daughter asked the Chicago Daily News to check it out. Photographs taken at the time convinced the paper that 56-year-old Mrs. Jane Bartholomew, now a nursing inspector for the Illinois Department of Public Health, was indeed the lady with the torch. So far her shapely form has appeared in more than 1,700 films.

    In an interview of Jane Chester:
    Jane Chester Bartholomew poses for a photograph March 23, 2001 in her Crestwood, IL. nursing home near photos of her family and images of the Columbia Pictures” famous Miss Liberty logo. Jane, 81, says she was the model for the Columbia Pictures” famous Miss Liberty logo in the 1940s. She remembers being one of several extras ordered by Columbia Pictures” boss, at the time, Harry Cohn in 1941 to pose as Miss Liberty for which she was paid $25. Although other women have been named as the final model, Bartholomew is certain the icon was based on her likeness. Originally from Washington/Burgettstown, PA., at the age of 16 she boarded a bus in Washington, PA. enroute to Hollywood, CA. Today, three Columbia icon photos sent to her by the studio in 1975 adorn a wall in the room of the nursing home where she lives. A stroke has robbed her of the ability to speak. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Newsmakers).

  18. The illo of the Roman lady warrior holding a shield is almost identical to the lady “Liberty” on the Standing Liberty quarter (minted 1916-1932, before the Washington quarter ). There was a scandal at the time because Miss Liberty was TOPLESS.

    http://www.rivercitycoins.com/silverrounds/coinrelated/1916qtercopy.jpg

    The next year, she was covered up.

    Regarding the evolution of Columbia’s lady with the lamp, I’m wondering why the American flag draped across her originally was changed to some non-descript garment. A sad evolution of the logo.

  19. Pingback: El estilo cinematográfico en ‘Django Desencadenado’ | Tukuy.org

  20. Pingback: El estilo cinematográfico en ‘Django Desencadenado’ | Zona X Arcade

  21. Just finished watching the 1953 Dr. Seuss “The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T.”.
    When the Columbia touch lady ran at the end I was blow away as it was a dead ringer for the lead actress, Mary Healy!

    So, it looks like the 61-76 lady was dubbed back into the 53 movie, which – why would they do that – unless she later modeled the logo!

    Jason

      • As I understand the first Columbia Lady was pictured due to a very horrible crime done against ‘Jane Doe’. For years the Columbian Woman was a picture so others who might know her would come forward for the Cold case. Different likeness’ were cast after the original early 1900’s crime faded. This is what I learned in early 1980’s College course.

  22. Did you know that Jane Chester Bartholomew, originally from Washington, PA; (some articles put her in Burgettstown, PA), is the actual model for the Columbia Pictures Movies Statue. I did some research, and her family descendents: (Anthony Selvaggi) from Washington, PA, actually responded to me with facts and information.
    Here is the articles of proof:
    Columbia’s Gem of the Openings Was Jane Chester
    With the money she earned washing dishes and scrubbing floors, Jane Chester, a 16-year-old brunette beauty, bought a one-way ticket from Washington, Pa. to Hollywood in 1936. For more than a year she lived in a rooming house near the Columbia Pictures studio and made the rounds, trying to break into the movies.

    Discouraged, Jane was about to leave Hollywood when she, along with other girls, was asked to pose as the Statue of Liberty for what was to be Columbia’s screen “trademark.” “No one really knew if the picture would be used. We weren’t paid, but we hoped it could lead to something,” says Jane. When it didn’t, Jane moved to Chicago and later married. Two years later she was in a movie theater and suddenly her picture flashed on the screen.

    Over the years, only her family knew she was Columbia’s “proud lady.” To satisfy her grandsons, who did not believe Jane had been in the movies, her oldest daughter asked the Chicago Daily News to check it out. Photographs taken at the time convinced the paper that 56-year-old Mrs. Jane Bartholomew, now a nursing inspector for the Illinois Department of Public Health, was indeed the lady with the torch. So far her shapely form has appeared in more than 1,700 films.

    Here is a picture of her in 2001, in the retirement home in Chicago, Illinois:

    Jane Chester Bartholomew poses for a photograph March 23, 2001 in her Crestwood, IL. nursing home near photos of her family and images of the Columbia Pictures” famous Miss Liberty logo. Jane, 81, says she was the model for the Columbia Pictures” famous Miss Liberty logo in the 1940s. She remembers being one of several extras ordered by Columbia Pictures” boss, at the time, Harry Cohn in 1941 to pose as Miss Liberty for which she was paid $25. Although other women have been named as the final model, Bartholomew is certain the icon was based on her likeness. Originally from Washington/Burgettstown, PA., at the age of 16 she boarded a bus in Washington, PA. enroute to Hollywood, CA. Today, three Columbia icon photos sent to her by the studio in 1975 adorn a wall in the room of the nursing home where she lives. A stroke has robbed her of the ability to speak. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Newsmakers)

  23. Nathan Cohn who was my grandfather was the youngest brother of Harry Cohn, and worked for Columbia in New York. My mother, Frances Cohn told me the model for the “Lady with the Torch” was Harry’s wife, Joan Perry. She had been told thIs at a young age, obviously by someone in the family, (I’m assuming her father)
    It truly is a beautiful logo and I’ve enjoyed the many transformations.
    Laurie Rubenfeld (granddaughter of Nathan Cohn)

  24. Thank you for your comment. As you can see in the comments there are a lot of people who are sure it was a specific person who stood model for the original image. I guess it is hard to prove who it was unless a picture is found showing the painting process.

  25. Still does not tell me who Lady of Columbia picture is, person or ancient Goddess. Columbia picture’s lawyer, who protects the film company’s intelegical property said ” the lady ,icon for Columbia picture pictures was a composite . ” It is not based on any person.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>