Monday, June 11, 2012

Beginner's Handbook Of Chemistry by John Howard Appleton, 1888

Illustrations from a 19th Century chemistry textbook, artist uncredited.

Beginner's Handbook Of Chemistry by John Howard Appleton, 1888

Illustrations from a 19th Century chemistry textbook, artist uncredited.

Beginner's Handbook Of Chemistry by John Howard Appleton, 1888

Illustrations from a 19th Century chemistry textbook, artist uncredited.

Beginner's Handbook Of Chemistry by John Howard Appleton, 1888

Illustrations from a 19th Century chemistry textbook, artist uncredited.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The War-Time Journal of a Georgia Girl, 1864-1865


Forget-me-nots of the Civil War; A Romance, Containing Reminiscences and Original Letters of Two Confederate Soldiers

I'm raiding an online archive for this and subsequent images. So, they are smaller, and I may not be able to find out who the illustrator is.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Magic Dials: The story of radio and television

This is interesting, because it's a book about television from 1939. Some of you may recognize the name Lowell Thomas, too. Sorry the cover is too big for my scanner, but you get the gist.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Alfons Mucha postcards, more

Alfons Mucha postcards

Still testing out my new HP scanner...

Yes, I'm still here...

My Visioneer scanner turned out to be incompatible with my new computer and its Windows Vista operating system. So I finally decided to replace it, with an HP Scanjet G4010. Here are some vintage postcard reproductions of Alfons Mucha, to inaugurate it. As always, click on the images for a bigger view, since I've scanned them large.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Whereabouts Unknown Mrs. Baille Reynolds. A potboiler from 1931, illustrator not credited. Please comment if you know who it is.

Alice of Old Vincennes

"Don't shoot til they're nigh enough!"

A historical thriller of the old Franco-American Northwest frontier, written in 1900 by Maurice Thompson. The illustrations are by F. C. Yohn

The Treasure Train

Frontispiece from The Treasure Train, by Arthur B. Reeve. The artist is uncredited, and I can't make out the signature, although it may say "Will Foster". Please leave a comment if you recognize him.

Update: It is Will Foster, I found out, thanks to this nifty signature bank.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


Elsewhere on the web, Arthur B. Reeve is credited as having invented the first "scientific" hero of detective novels. I unfortunately can't find any information on who the illustrator of this cover is. If you know, please leave me a comment!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Battle Is The Payoff

A war correspondent's book, from 1943.

Ellery Queen covers

More covers from Triangle Books edition from the early 1940s. Sorry, but there's no indication on these books who the illustrators were.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Ellery Queen covers

Covers of some Ellery Queen novels, from the early 1940s


At last, I got my Visioneer scanner to work with my new Vista machine. Oof!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Private Peat

Photos, for a change, from a 1917 war memoir by a Canadian private. Here's the opening few paragraphs for you:

"Well," said old Bill, "I know what war is...I've been through it with the Boers, and here's one chicken they'll not catch to go through this one."

Ken Mitchel stirred his cup of tea thoughtfully. "If I was old enough, boys," said he, "I'd go. Look at young Gordon McLellan; he's only seventeen and he's enlisted."

That got me. It was then that I made up my mind I was going whether it lasted three months, as they said it would, or five years, as I thought it would, knowing a little bit of the geography and history of the country we were up against.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Valley of Silent Men

A thriller from 1920 by James Oliver Curwood, illustrated by Dean Cornwall. It's got something to do with Canadian Mounties, I think.

On the fascination of old books

While I'm in between scanning sessions, here's a post I wrote on my other blog, Atlanta Rofters, a couple of years ago:


Canadian tory pundit David Warren:

A civilization requires the lively circulation of old books. It is all very well to put their contents on the Internet -- you need the physical object to curl up with, and as a proof that the past really happened. You need the element of chance and discovery, in rooting through the remains of previous generations. Only a library or a used book store or sale can provide this, in the round -- for each contains, in addition to what is currently thought worth reading, a selection of what was once thought so. A computer screen is too small a window, and must be searched along a linear path, which no matter how it zigs and zags, remains a single line of inquiry.

Moreover, to my mind, a book is to a PDF file as sex to pornography. The book is something to hold, not just something to look at. I cannot see an excerpt from an attractive book on some backlit computer projection, without longing for the real thing.

Quite. In real life I get to rummage through a lot of old books, oftentimes entire estate consignments. They are the proverbial source of endless fascination for me, on many levels. One is of course the books themselves, and the interest they hold. The other is what a book collection tells about its former owner.

A retired minister's collection can be quite sizeable. It can contain books written by once-prominent pop-theologians, Biblical handbooks and reference materials, issues of a parish quarterly or some such, old Guidepost magazines, some lovingly-inscribed gift books from Christmases past. It's interesting getting a feel for his education and personality from the titles in the lot.

Or someone else might have belonged to a science fiction book of the month club years ago. Hardback editions of SF authors that only appear in paperback nowadays, if at all. (You know, if you say "new wave" to some people, they think not of music in the 80s, but science fiction in the 60s.) Old Universe compilations by Terry Carr. Any number of authors that I read when I was an spacey adolescent, but haven't thought about since then. And the literary memories flood back.

Of course a lot of book collections are quite prosaic. Computer professionals get rid of manuals that are scarcely five years old, depending on the software (or if they've moved on.) Nobody needs a 1970 set of World Book encyclopedias, or a 1960 hydraulics textbook. But a lot of vintage home economics handbooks can be quite entertaining reading.

And then there are the heirlooms, books given away by people unaware of their value. There are online tools for determining a book's monetary value, although I never take these books for myself. Borrow 'em for a day or two, maybe. When I find a century or more old book, with a personal name handsomely inscribed, sometimes I use other tools, out of idle curiosity, to find out more about that person. Only a bibliophile could understand the feeling I mean to describe, holding a book that was a Christmas or birthday present in the nineteen-oughts, and seeing the former owner's birth and death dates in a genealogy file.

I once had the opportunity to surprise a man with a box of books, whose existence he knew nothing of, that had once belonged to his late father, and some earlier ancestors. I bent some rules to do so, and drew a verbal reprimand, but darn it, I'm proud of myself for doing that. He had recently lost his other parent, so this reconnection with his past, and the chance to pass it on to his own children, was doubly poignant. Not bad for a load of old books.

Friday, September 7, 2007


I launched this blog, featuring all these rare (SFAIK) illustrations, in hopes of landing Blogger's front page feature. But, much to my chagrin, I see that they very recently spotlit this blog, which covers the same ground. The fellow running it knows a lot more about illustration than I do, plus there's a lot more sex than I'll be having over here to boot. So, if your tastes run that way, click on over and scroll.

...darn it...