The winter solstice has passed, Christmas is nearly upon us, and we’ve been enjoying some of the seasonal cultural artifacts found here in Special Collections. Read on for an assortment of favorites:
The illustration above, from Roger Duvoisin’s 1945 The Christmas Whale, shows a crowd of seals, polar bears, birds, and a lone human waving goodbye to Santa’s cetacean gift-delivery service. Look at those polar bears’ little tails!
For those of you more interested in, say, spending the winter months skiing while wearing a silky turban, we offer you this cover from a December 1939 issue of Vogue:
Our Updike History of Print collection contains an interesting 1951 reprint of Nicholas Breton’s The Twelve Moneths and Christmas Day, set in Riverside Caslon and illustrated with pseudo-Greek decorations.
(Nothing says Christmas like a flute, identical twin ducks, a turkey on a leash, figgy pudding in a fire pit, and an extremely small yet muscular man striding confidently through the scene.)
For those of you who can’t get enough historical Christmas images, I highly recommend checking out the American Antiquarian Society’s digital exhibit on chromolithographer Louis Prang, known as “the father of the Christmas card”. They have some beautiful Christmas- and winter-themed images featured on their Instagram, as well.