Category Archives: History of Books & Libraries

Kick Him Out!

CaptureI haven’t posted for a long time, but I had to share this. It is from the funniest book I’ve read in a long time: A Bad Boy’s First Reader written by Frank Bellew and published in New York by G.W. Carleton & Co. in 1881. I got it from a archive of 6,000 historical children’s books digitized and posted online by the University of Florida’s Baldwin Library, which I discovered at Open Culture. Check it out, it’s wonderful!CaptureCapture

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Violent Death Past & Present

Capture1Open Culture

Recent productions like a bloody staging of Titus at The Globe in 2014 are restoring the gore in Shakespeare’s work, and The Complete Deaths will leave audiences with little doubt that Shakespeare’s culture was as permeated with representations of violence as our own—and it was as much, if not more so, plagued by the real thing.

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Original Illustrations For Charlotte’s Web

Originally published in 1952 and still a well-read classic, Charlotte’s Webs greatness is shared by author E.B. White and illustrator Garth Williams.

Garth Williams

Garth Williams

“There’s no doubt that Williams left an indelible mark through his work. As his friend and attorney Richard M. Ticktin says, “We continue to get letters addressed to Garth from fourth graders, wondering how it is he was able to draw these animals and people so perfectly that he instilled in these kids a love of nature.”
Unlocking Original Illustrations from Charlotte’s Web

Williams kept all his original illustrations once they were returned to him from the publisher. His family continued to protect them, locking them away in a bank vault.

“On Oct 15, [2010]42 of the original Garth Williams illustrations for Charlotte’s Web were put up at a New York auction. All of them were sold off fetching a combined total of $780,245.”
Original Illustrations of Charlotte’s Web

Garth Montgomery Williams (American, 1912-1996) Charlotte's Web, book cover, 1952 Graphite and ink on paper 14 x 11 in. Signed lower right

Garth Montgomery Williams
(American, 1912-1996)
Charlotte’s Web, book cover, 1952
Graphite and ink on paper
14 x 11 in.
Signed lower right

The son of artists and raised on a farm in New Jersey, Williams tried architecture first then switched to painting and sculpture. In 1945, E.B. White’s Stuart Little launched his successful career in illustration.

“He believed that books ‘given, or read, to children can have a profound influence.” For that reason, he said, he used his illustrations to try to “awaken something of importance . . . humor, responsibility, respect for others, interest in the world at large.'”
Garth Williams, Book Illustrator, Dies at 84

Please don't kill it (Pg. 2)

“Please don’t kill it” (Pg. 2)

“‘Where’s Papa going with that Ax?’ said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast…’One of the pigs is a runt…so your father has decided to do away with it’ said her mother…Fern pushed her chair out of the way and ran outdoors. ‘Please don’t kill it!’ she sobbed.”

'Give him breakfast' (Pg. 6)

‘Give him breakfast’ (Pg. 6)

“But Fern couldn’t eat until her pig had a drink of mink. Mrs. Arable found a baby’s nursing bottle and a rubber nipple. She poured warm milk into the bottle, fitted the nipple over the top, and handed it to Fern.”

See more at BibliOdyssey

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The British Library Openly Shares Images from 17th, 18th & 19th Century

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Image shared from the British Library’s Flickr photostream in the Children’s Book Illustration set.

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The poem is a screen shot from the downloaded PDF of the entire book shared by the British Library.

“We have released over a million images onto Flickr Commons for anyone to use, remix and repurpose. These images were taken from the pages of 17th, 18th and 19th century books digitised by Microsoft who then generously gifted the scanned images to us, allowing us to release them back into the Public Domain. The images themselves cover a startling mix of subjects: There are maps, geological diagrams, beautiful illustrations, comical satire, illuminated and decorative letters, colourful illustrations, landscapes, wall-paintings and so much more that even we are not aware of.” British Library Digital Scholarship Blog: A Million First Steps

Via: TYWKIWDBI

To download an image from Flickr:

  • Open the image by clicking on it from the photostream or set file
  • Find the three little dots at the bottom right of the image and click on it
  • Choose “View All Sizes” from the pop-up menu
  • Click on the file size you want to download
  • Click on “Download the (x) size of this photo”

To download a PDF of the book:

  • Starting from the image on Flickr, click on the link to the book.
  • Look to the right of the record and click on “(#)Related Resources”
  • Click on “Online(#)” in the left hand sidebar
  • Click on the title
  • Choose “Digital item; opens as an Adobe PDF file” and click “GO”
  • One file downloads (can take a while), save it to your computer
Image taken from page 129 of 'Songs for Little People. [With illustrations by H. Stratton.]'

Image taken from page 129 of ‘Songs for Little People. [With illustrations by H. Stratton.]’

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Filed under Art & Design, Books, Authors & Illustrators, History of Books & Libraries, Poetry, Reading

1890 Book Stand Machine

“Book readers know the tiresomeness of holding books in the best position for comfortable reading […] The Reading Stand holds the open dictionary by your side, only a turn of the head being required to consult it, while the book you are reading is held open before you.” Internet Archive

Via: EBook Friendly where there are 5 more “…Fascinating Book Machines Before the Kindle”

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Baum’s Contribution to the Santa Legend

According to The Public Domain Review, Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum’s 1902 The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, “with its elaborations and much added detail went a long way to popularising the legend of Santa”. You can read the entire book online and in various other formats including ePUB and Kindle at Project Gutenberg.

First Edition 1902

Multiple editions on Goodreads.

The Public Domain Review: A Pictorial History of Santa Claus.

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Admont Abbey Monastery Library, Austria

Admont Abbey Monastery Library

Photos by Jorge Royan via Twisted Sifter, where there is a beautiful gallery with descriptions.

“Admont Abbey is a Benedictine monastery located on the Enns River in the town of Admont, Austria. It is the oldest remaining monastery in Styria and contains the largest monastic library in the world. The abbey is known for its Baroque architecture, art, and manuscripts. [Wikipedia]”

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