This week we’re taking a look at this beautiful vintage book called Godey’s Lady’s Book. These books were printed from 1830 until 1898 in our own city of Philadelphia. Louis Antoine Godey began the publication of these lady’s books in 1830, and he designed them specifically for the American woman. He wanted to keep the ladies of American informed as well as entertained. These books not only contained fashion and different patterns, they had stories, articles, sketches, even sheet music! As the popularity of these books began to grow, more influential writers had their work featured, such as Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne.
In the spirit of Halloween, we decided that this week Shelf Life should be devoted to what is probably one of the greatest and most enduring horror stories in literature. This week we’re talking about a beautiful edition of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus, illustrated by one of our favorite illustrators Lynd Ward.
Teaching science to young children can be pretty challenging, especially trying to explain something as complex as the Earth’s rotation in the solar system around our sun. Franklyn M. Branley realized this and decided he was going to write a series of books for children explaining these scientific anomalies. In the series called “Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out” Branley explains different things such as earthquakes, the phases of the moon, gravity, and even humans exploring Mars! He uses simple language and activities for children to better understand these discoveries and get them excited learning about science.
The word ‘propaganda’ has such a negative connotation that people wouldn’t dare use the word to describe what Walt Disney was doing back in the late 50’s. However, that’s exactly what his book Our Friend the Atom was: propaganda. Released shortly after the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, Our Friend the Atom attempted to show the beneficial side of the atom as opposed to the destructive nature of them. The book is beautifully illustrated by the Disney Studios staff and art directed by Paul Hartley. With the help of German physicist and USC professor Heinz Haber, Our Friend the Atom showcases various scientists and theories around the atom and how we came to gain as much knowledge about them as we had at the time.
Prosper Mérimée was a French dramatist, historian, archeologist, and short story writer known for his love of mysticism, history, and the unusual. His most popular novella was Carmen which was later adapted into the famous opera Carmen by Georges Bizet. However, it isn’t Carmen we’re talking about today; it’s this gorgeous book called Lokis. Written in 1869 Lokis is a horror fantasy novella and one of the last stories Mérimée would write.
No Man’s Land is a book written and illustrated by the highly regarded French illustrator Blexbolex and printed by Nobrow Press. What makes this book so fascinating are the beautiful, albeit at times disturbing, illustrations captured by Nobrow’s printing process. Nobrow utilizes spot color printing, which is not too common process used only by a handful of printers worldwide. Spot color is a technique used in offset printing and is any color generated by an ink, pure or mixed, that is printed using a single run. More and more publishers these days are using digital printing processes since it’s typically cheaper, faster and the quality has improved tremendously over recent years. The beauty in this book is the simple harmony between the illustration and the complimentary printing style.
When bookstores were commonplace, we would spend hours just wandering from one to another. Discovering a beautifully illustrated book or a unique magazine was always such a thrill (and remains so today) especially if we could make it part of our collection.
With the digital age and its accompanying distractions taking over our lives, I rarely get the time to browse the collection of books and magazines we have gathered over the years. There never seems to be enough time! When we were organizing the studio recently, it dawned on me that our book collection might be of interest to others. Maybe it would be interesting to take a look at what we have and show some items in this blog. This might be a new lease on life for these books and magazines that have lived a quiet shelf life for too long.
Everyone here at 21xdesign is thrilled with the activity buzzing around one of our newest collaborations with Philadelphia publisher, Paul Dry Books. The book is called City Abandoned: Charting the Loss of Civic Institutions in Philadelphia, by photographer and author, Vincent Feldman.
The recent book signing and official launch of City Abandoned was a great success with a presentation by Vincent Feldman, along with Paul Dry at the Print Center in Philadelphia. To date this project has received several outstanding reviews, including The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Wall Street Journal, who commended the book for its ability to help preserve architecture that would otherwise be lost in the City of Brotherly Love.
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