Sunday, 25 January 2009

NYPLs Part I

The New York Public Library's Digital Gallery is an amazing collection of images taken from all sorts of printed material: books, illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, rare prints, photographs and more. Amongst all of that, there are some 3,000 vintage book dustjackets, some of which feature some very nice bits of design work. So here is the first of a couple of posts showcasing some of the good stuff.

Here's a Mervyn Peake poetry collection, illustrated by the man himself:



And this cover is by our old mate Aaron Douglas:



Some of the covers grace books whose titles have not aged entirely well:





Here are some of the others I particularly liked:













8 comments:

Steerforth said...

Wonderful stuff! I particularly like By the Neck, which would brighten up anyone's Christmas stocking.

JRSM said...

You could follow it up with Charles Duff's 'A Handbook on Hanging' if they didn't get the message.

Ian Brian Shimkoviak said...

Insulted and Exiled is crazy as well as Shapes and Sounds.

Ian Brian Shimkoviak said...

Gay Matter is another very strange one. I like it, but seriously, what was everyone thinking about when they went ahead and designed, approved and printed such a cover? Same goes for a number of these. I mean, they are facinating pieces of design, but so random in certain cases...

Ian Brian Shimkoviak said...

maybe we're just to square these days... or maybe it's just cause coccain's not legal... who knows.

JRSM said...

Hard drugs certainly would explain "England and the Octopus"!

ctorre said...

What's remarkable to me is the amount of care that seems to have been taken with all the books, as though they were designed to become artifacts. One gets the sense that people once believed that all things should be given a semblance of dignity...
But then again, who knows: maybe in ninety years we'll think the books we produced today were almost uniformly beautiful... (as we read from screens in our flying cars...) ... and perhaps we won't be wrong.

JRSM said...

Even the covers that are a bit of a mess have obviously had a lot of time spent on them: I guess we're seeing a slightly skewed sample, of course, in that the NYPL has preserved the more worthwhile covers, but I guess in the days before anyone THOUGHT they could slap a cover together in Photoshop they actually had to get a craftsperson in.