Friday, November 13, 2015

Coloring Books

detail of Paris panorama Until Louis Prang popularized chromolithography in the second half of the 19th century, printing in color was economically impractical. The few methods that had been invented were too difficult or expensive for regular use. Instead, printers would hire a team of colorists to hand-color images printed in black and white. Our Audubon double elephant folio on display in the reading room is one of the most famous examples, but we just bought an amazing hand-colored lithograph panorama of Paris that is stunning in its details, colors and brightness.

This year, during finals week, we are offering students a chance to do some of their own hand coloring. We have scanned and printed some of our favorite black and white images from the rare book collections and put them out with some colored pencils for people to relax with. So, take a study break from November 16th to the 25th and come upstairs to the Galleries in Rauner to do come coloring!  The books that the images come from will be on hold in the Reading Room all week (but you can't color in those!).

If you want inspiration, ask for the Panorama interieur de Paris (Paris: Ches Aubert, ca. 1840; Rare NE2439.25 P76 1843) or take a look at the Audubon in the display case.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A Cozy Book for Colder Days

Wind in the Willows coverAs winter comes closer, sometimes you just need a good old favorite to curl up with (or admire in the reading room!). Here at Rauner, we have a first edition of The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame (1908)

Wind in the Willows spine with toadOn the front cover, a serious satyr plays panpipes as Mole and Ratty glide down the river. The best part is the spine where Toad, "arrayed in goggles, cap, gaiters, and enormous overcoat," displays his swagger, exactly as I imagined him from the text! (p. 123) The spine entices a potential reader to choose to adventure with Toad by pulling the book off the shelf and diving in.

Of course, we don't sanction Toad's terrible behavior, but we do laugh along with him. Grahame fills his text with apt descriptions of human (or animal) interaction:
Indeed, much that he [Toad] related belonged more properly to the category of what-might-have-happened-had-I-only-thought-of-it-in-time-instead-of-ten-minutes-afterwards. Those are always the best and raciest adventures; and why should they not truly be ours, as much as the somewhat inadequate things that really come off? (p. 277)  
Come into Rauner and have some racy adventures with Toad and all, or look for your own childhood favorite! The edition of The Wind in the Willows featured in this post is Val 826 G766 Y711. We also have a later edition with illustrations by Arthur Rackham, Presses qW165gr.