Decorative Letters In 1880s-Era Good Housekeeping Magazine

Decorative letter W from 1889 Good Housekeeping

Before magazine designers and editors could use lots of photos to enliven their pages, they needed other methods.  In the late 19th Century, Good Housekeeping used decorative initials at the start of each article. Unlike typical initials, these weren’t simply larger or more ornate, but were creative depictions of letters that related to the magazine’s themes, […]

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Another Batch of Vintage Book Covers

"A Man's Man", book cover from the British Library

While browsing the amazing and often confounding Flickr Commons, I was entranced by a collection of late 19th century book covers from the British Library. The majority of the nearly 900 covers are “pulp novels,” but you’ll also find travel books, text books, and other miscellany. Last month I shared a batch of six vintage book covers, and this […]

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Fun with a Victorian Slang Dictionary

I was out walking the other day, and it was hot, so I was really feeling the collar. As I rounded the corner onto Kings Lane, I spotted my old crony George. And so I says to him, “I’m headed to the Lion’s Pub, why don’t you come and have a pickle?” Once we got […]

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Two Small Rants about Book Design Flaws

As I work on a book review that will certainly take me a while, here’s a short rant about two elements of book design that can be irksome.  (For what it’s worth, the book I’m reviewing — The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger, by Marc Levinson, […]

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