mojave flea trading post

Classic Covers

A rare vintage collection of Palm Springs Villager covers designed by artist O.E.L. Graves will be showcased at a special Oct. 14 reception at Mojave Flea Trading Post.

Staff Report Arts & Entertainment, Current Digital

mojave flea trading post

There are more than 20 vintage covers on display, which will remain on display through October at Mojave Flea Trading Post in Palm Springs.

When he was hired in 1948, O.E. L. Graves used his vast talents to transform the look and feel of the Palm Springs Villager covers into rare and collectible works of art today.

A collection of Graves’ covers from the late 1940s and early 1950s are part of a Palm Springs Life display of Palm Springs Villager covers at Mojave Flea Trading Post in Palm Springs. View the vintage display during a special cocktail reception from 5-7 p.m. Oct. 14 with snacks provided by Palm Springs Bottle Shop (PSBS) and beverages by Palm Springs Life.

The display will remain at Mojave Flea Trading Post through Oct. 31. Store hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day.


O.E.L. Graves

In the late 1940s, photographer Bill Fox initially established a publication called, The Villager, which he sold to George Wheeler in 1947. Wheeler changed the name of the publication to Palm Springs Villager and published the first edition with the new name on July 3, 1947.

By the next year, Wheeler brought in Graves, whose work was already hanging in the homes of Hollywood stars like Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, and Clark Gable, industrial designer Raymond Loewy and media magnate George R. Hearst.

Wheeler wanted the magazine to “…reflect the beauty of the desert and the activities of the people who came from all parts of the country to enjoy its winter sunshine and warmth,”according to a Desert Sun article.

January 1949, Palm Springs Villager by O.E.L. Graves
July-August 1948, Palm Springs Villager by O.E.L. Graves

With Graves and artist Jean Ranahan on staff, the Palm Springs Villager attracted a large following. Graves was already earning notice for his experimentation with new media and techniques, which he used in a variety of artistic paths including delicate watercolors, fine detailed portraits, impressionistic oils, and sculptures in metal.

In 1955, Wheeler sold the magazine to Percy Whiteside, who began to mix in photographic covers with the artistic ones. The Villager published until 1959 when it became part of the Palm Springs Life publishing family. Graves died at age 74 in 1971.

In addition to vintage covers at the store, there are also notecards featuring the Palm Springs Villager covers and copies of current issues of Palm Springs Life.

• READ NEXT: Palm Springs Life Celebrates 60 Years of Publishing.