Bad Children of History #32: The Cutting-Edge School Desk

We found some naughty imps of yore in an unlikely place: an 1892 book on the industrial arts.

IMG_0945

This folio contains a true bonanza of illustrations, covering all manner of modern inventions. Each page is arranged to show developments in the design of the invention, beginning with the primitive, and ending with the cutting-edge.

IMG_0946

(Have you been wondering about the vanguard of egg carriers? This book can satisfy your curiosity!)

The entry on school furniture shows some truly marvelous folding desk contraptions, as well as simpler wooden desks populated by….

…misbehaving schoolchildren! We have a scowling miss undergoing some unfortunate piliferous bullying, the infamous Sleeping Guy with his head on his slate, and a lively scene of bench-style seating gone awry. Here’s a close-up of the latter situation:

IMG_0950

“Hey, Johnny? Hey Johnny!”

“Not now, Caleb, I’m doing my sums.”

“Johnny! Hey. Yer forehead is weird. Can I look at your sums?”

“No, Caleb. Stop being a hornswoggler. Just because this primitive wooden school furniture lacks a flat surface for you to work on doesn’t mean you can pester me.”

“Hey, Johnny. Why don’t you have ears. Did ya see the dunce kid? Did ya see his walkie talkie?”

“SHHH. Caleb. Geez.”

Advertisements

Poster Process Photos

As a follow-up to our recent post about our ALA statement broadside, we’re sharing a few photos taken at DWRI while they were working on the project. And if you like those, you’ll really like following them on Instagram.

We still have some posters available, so contact us if you’re interested in getting one.

Access for All

Moments of political turmoil are an opportunity for organizations to define what they really believe, and in January the American Library Association did just that with a statement titled, “ALA opposes new administration policies that contradict core values.”

We liked the statement so much we thought it deserved a chance to move off the screen and onto the page, so we teamed up with local letterpress printers DWRI Letterpress to create a broadside version of an excerpt of the statement. The text was set on one of the DWRI Linotype machines and printed by hand.

We’re going to post copies here at PPL, but we printed more than we’ll need, and we’re happy to share. If you’re interested in having a copy for your library, just contact us. We might even throw in a copy of our awesome new comic.

The finished broadside and the forme used to print it.

The Singing Waltz

Today we want to share a few delightful photos from the January 1915 issue of Harper’s Bazaar.

This brief magazine feature showcases dance moves performed by Margaret Hawkesworth and Basil Durant, popular American ballroom dancers who performed throughout the United States and Europe.

IMG_0929

Here are a couple of close-ups. First, Miss Hawkesworth and Mr. Durant leading off “with a graceful swinging step”:

IMG_0931

I love their looks of deep concentration here, as well as that delicate foot-touch!

Here’s a minuet step, accompanied by equally delicate hand-touching. So civilized!

IMG_0930

Readers may be interested to note Miss Hawkesworth’s stylized yet loose-fitting dress, part of a new fashion movement focusing on fabrics with drape and moving away from the long-entrenched, fashionable corseted silhouette. This article on fashion designer Paul Poiret gives a little more background into cutting-edge fashion of the 1910s.

 

Library Comics, or, Research as Hot Pursuit

We have big news:

Special Collections at the Providence Public Library is publishing a comic book!

IMG_for calendar

Lizard Ramone in Hot Pursuit: A Guide to Archives for Artists and Makers is a comic book conceived of and printed by the Providence Public Library in Providence, RI, working in collaboration with artist Jeremy Ferris, who created the storyline, illustrations, and text. It’s being distributed locally with a bonus insert illustrated by O. Horvath.

library_cropped

Providence describes itself as the “Creative Capital”, and we work with a great number of artists and designers in our Special Collections. These creative researchers often have a different approach than the students, scholars, and genealogists whom many tend to think of as “typical” archival researchers.

After asking ourselves, “How can we better meet the needs of creative researchers?” and “How can we make our collections more accessible to artists and other non-traditional researchers?”, we decided to team up with a local illustrator and library student to make a fun-to-read guide demystifying archival research. (It’s also hilarious!) We wanted it to be specific enough that it could help our users, but general enough to be applicable to collections across the country.

sailor

We’re having a comic book release party this coming Wednesday, June 21st, from 6:30-8 on the 3rd floor of the library. (Facebook event for the party here.) Artist Jeremy Ferris will give a short presentation and answer questions; we’ll also have a bevy of interactive stations, like a mini research consultation booth, a comics-drawing station, and a table where you can have your portrait drawn by a librarian. (We’ll also have snacks.)

For local blog readers, we hope to see you at the release party! For all blog readers, stay tuned for online-readable and printable versions of the comic book!

 

Impeccable Science: Habits of Expression, Arm Joints and Atheists

Today’s long-overdue impeccable science is drawn from a pleasantly-sized 1832 volume entitled The Youth’s Book on Natural Theology; Illustrated in Familiar Dialogues, With Numerous Engravings. 

For those who don’t know, natural theology argues for God’s existence based on observations of nature, so, while not a purely “scientific” tome by contemporary definitions, this book does contain highly-detailed descriptions of entomology, human anatomy, animal behavior, electricity, and air pressure, all of which the author relates to intelligent design.

The chapter descriptions are truly brilliant litanies. My favorites are “Radius. Ulna. Button-head. Joint-oil. Gristle. Ligament. Wisdom and goodness of God.” and (not pictured here) “Mouth of animals; particular design in forming them. Wood-pecker. Cross-bill. Bills of ducks and geese. Oyster-catcher. Choetodon. Chance. Atheism.”

IMG_2211

I will give an extremely special prize as well as certain micro-celebrity to any blog reader who can provide documentation of herself reciting these enumerations at a poetry reading.

As for the impeccable science that I’ve promised you: after a lengthy description of the nerves of the face and the ways that nerves control muscles, author Rev. T. H. Gallaudet proceeds to explain facial expressions, which “seem to be the very coming out of the soul.”

You, like me, may be thinking, “but I want my soul to stay in, where it belongs,” but that’s not what Rev. T. H. Gallaudet wants to talk about! No, he wants us to understand how uniquely human are facial expressions:

Many animals, you know, have no such expressions of face at all; and none of them have any thing like the different kinds,–the beauty, the strength, and the meaning, which the expressions of the human face have… a dog expresses a very few things by his face. A man can express,–oh! how many different kinds of thoughts, and feelings, in his countenance.

To which I say:

surprised dog

Gallaudet has proof, though! Just look at these lifelike engravings of a woman with soulful eyes and a disenchanted pup with Farrah Fawcett hair:

Why, you may ask, does that dog look so vacuous? In part, explains Gallaudet, it’s because animals don’t have souls, which I’m not prepared to debate here. In other part, it’s because:

Some [beasts] have some muscles and nerves, in their faces, like ours; but none of them as many; and most of them have very few, indeed… They do not think and feel, as we do… even, if they had a soul like ours, it could not show itself, its thoughts and its feelings, on their faces, as our souls do; because they have not the muscles and nerves, that are necessary to give all kinds of expressions to the face.

Hmmm. We may have to agree to disagree here, sir.

What about human facial expressions, though? What do those do, besides proving that we have souls?

Well, they can show our habits of expression, which I think is an old-fashioned way of saying that if you make a funny face for too long, you’ll get stuck that way. For instance, look at this disheveled man who apparently strikes strange children in the street. He’s been angry for so long that “he can hardly look pleasant, if he tries”:

IMG_2215

And here’s the same man after brushing his hair and putting on a less-floppy collar:

IMG_2220

Just kidding! That’s a different man. That’s Uncle John, who’s full of kind and benevolent feelings. That’s why his eyebrows look so neat.

On a completely different note, I would be loathe to sign off without showing you this engraving–demonstrating the difference between instinct and behavior–of a woman frightening off a tiger with her parasol. It’s science! Impeccably!

IMG_2212

 

Magician of the Week #48: Rabbits!

This week’s featured magician isn’t technically a magician, but rather a magician’s most classic, well-loved, time-honored sidekick: the rabbit.

IMG_0793

There’s a bit of debate about the first magician to pull a rabbit from a hat–some say it was Louis Comte, in 1814, while others claim it was John Henry Anderson, “The Great Wizard of the North”. Either way, rabbits in hats have become synonymous with stage magic, as evidenced by the expressively-eyebrowed fellow above.

Today’s featured rabbits span decades, but all are taken from various covers of Ireland’s Magic Company Yearbook. We made a rabbit-y collage to showcase some of these soft sidekicks!

rabbit collage

You can find issues of Ireland’s Magic Company Yearbook, along with innumerable other rabbit illustrations, in our John H. Percival Collection on Magic.