Friday, May 28, 2010

Corky in Orbit (1962)

Juvenile fiction about space flight was one important way to build excitement about the space race. More importantly books about space flight both fiction and non-fiction were eligible to be bought using funds from the National Defense Education Act of 1958.

The Act's purpose, among other things, was to provide money to schools to update their libraries. This lead to publishers increasing their output of "relevant" space books.

Zimmerman, Naoma and Ruby Schuyler. Corky in orbit. Chicago: Reilly & Lee. 31 p. illus. 21 cm.

The fiction books all had very similar content. Similar to the "space monkey" books these would show children using the space flight technology.
Often you would also see children bringing their pets. Poodles and cats in space!

Letting children see themselves as astronauts was powerful at a psychological level. If they could imagine they could grow up to be astronauts they would be willing to learn the science needed to get there.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Junior Scholastic (March 28, 1958) "Dawn of the Space Age"

As I have blogged before, "Space in school" is one of my many interests. Junior Scholastic was a weekly newspaper aimed at older children. It shared what was going on in the world along with commentary, editorials, and jokes.

"Dawn of the Space Age" was a special section in the March 28th issue. It was a 25 page section reusing images from the Collier's series and the Disney space films.

As a result of the space race, manned space flight had to be digested and presented to children. A standard presentation included space history.

Robert Goddard was a newly resurrected American hero. Even though there was not very much coverage of him in the history books, the existence of the "inventor of rockets" being an American became part of our modern mythology.

Wernher von Braun was our second American space hero. Even though he had a long history in rocket research, the fact that he had once worked for our enemies was "tailored" in our celebration of the technological innovations he brought the United States.
Another part of the new mythology was telling children what their place was going to be in this new world. Here is the first page of a General Electric editorial (within this special section) telling children to study science and work hard.

There was almost always a series of questions about space flight such as "Why does a rocket work in space?" and "How much would you weigh on "X?".

You would also find many of the same authors writing explanations of aspects of space flight. Roy Gallant and Willy Ley were two of the more common ones.

Space was presented as the new frontier we were preparing to conquer. Like many other technological challenges of the time the time until we "won" was projected to be in the very near future. We would be figuring out manned flight and then move quickly on to a "city in the sky" ....................

Conquering the moon........

And on to the planets.......

Monday, May 24, 2010

Marvels of this Modern Age (1962)

Marvels of this Modern Age was a give-away with Eagle magazine. It reused some of the nice color pictures from the magazine in a collection of interesting modern stuff. My friends over at Project Sword Toys ( love the Dyna Soar so here is yet another.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Space Age (1959)

Lots of space art goodness for today.
OK this one is for Michael S. We had been talking about this poster and I promised to blog about it when it got here.

Only identifying information on it is: Copyright 1959 Educational Posters #117 "Space Age"

This poster is one of those that gets stuck in your memory. I don't know when I first saw a copy but when I found images of it online a few years ago I kept trying to find one. Part of the problem is that all the identifying information is so generic: "Space age," "Educational Posters," etc.

What is special about it is that it is paintings of rockets, satellites, a flying saucer, and an astronaut. These are from a wide variety of sources including the Collier's series, the Disney series, and a few other interesting inspirations. Each image is labeled so I will give the label in case it is too small to see.

"Personnel Rocket" (Adapted from Lindberg "US Moon ship" model?)
"Instrument carrying satellite" (From Collier's Bonestell 'Baby satellite')

"Relief Ship" (From Disney RM-1 'Circumlunar ship')

"3 stage personnel rocket" (From Collier's Klep illustration)

"Colony sphere" (Possibly from The Torchship "Lewis & Clark" from Time For the Stars by Robert A. Heinlein, 1956)

"Third stage unit" (From Disney 'RX-1' or 'XR-1')

"Flying saucer" (From the 1950 book "The Flying Saucers are Real")

"Three stage rocket"

"Space station" (From Collier's Bonestell illustration or Lindberg "US Space Station" model?)

"U.S. X-15"

"Research ship" (From Collier's Bonestell illustration)

"Exploration ship" (From Frank Tinsley illustration of "Light-propelled space ship")

"Space reconnaissance ship" (From Frank Tinsley illustration "Space Scout" from 1958 book: The Answer to the Space Flight Challenge )

"Weather eye satellite"
"Fourth stage passenger unit" (From Disney MX-1 or XM-1)

"Space suit and anti-gravitational unit" (From Collier's Klep illustration)

"Space reconnaissance and 3 stage propellant"

"Exploration ship" (Collier's Bonestell Mars Ship illustration)

"Observatory satellite" (From Strombecker "Manned Observational Satellite" model?)

The artist was Richard Amundsen.

Educational Posters evidently produced a number of posters for classrooms including HISTORY OF SHIPS, HISTORY OF FLIGHT, SPACE AGE and CHILDREN OF OTHER LANDS. Educational Posters Co., was a division of Dow (Louis F) Co.

Sorry for the low quality photographs but I wanted to show as much detail as I could.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Exploring Space (1966)

One of the things I love about space art is when factual depiction meets impressionism. Everything illustrated in Exploring Space is basically real but the artistic license makes it feel just a little mythical.
Ronan, Colin. Illustrated by Hardy, Wilfred. Exploring Space. London: Odhams, (96 p.) : 22 cm.

Sometimes a little impressionism lets the viewer see the spirit behind the image.

Exploring space was an amazing adventure. The astronauts were close to the surface of the earth in miles yet at the farthest reaches we have explored.
The NASA Art Program is dedicated to getting artists to witness what we are doing through a different set of eyes. How does it feel to witness these events and know what they mean. Someone had the forethought that maybe we might want to remember this time in more than photographs.
"The NASA Art Program uses the medium of fine art to document America's space program for 'the expansion of human knowledge of phenomena in the atmosphere and space...for the benefit of all mankind." (National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958.)
Even these drawings done for a forgotten children's book give us something different than a photograph. They give us the taste of a dream.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Authentic Book of Space (1954)

Authentic Science Fiction was a monthly science fiction magazine (
They issued an annual with many wonderful paintings. With a forward by Arthur C. Clarke, the contents are a mixture of articles and fictional stories by science fiction writers associated with the British Interplanetary Society (B.I.S.) and the London Science Fiction Circle. It has a number of interesting articles about the history of rockets, navigating rockets, a reprint of a B.I.S. paper on artificial satellites, and how to communicate with aliens. Also the usual comic strips, puzzles, and various games. A amazing treasure of the early British space literature.

These are nice because although they were used as covers for the magazine, they stand out without the text overlays as great inspirational paintings.
Compare this one to the original cover here:
Campbell, H.J. (ed.). Illustrated by Richards, John, Campbell, H. J. The Authentic Book of Space. London : Hamilton and Co, Authentic Science Fiction. (102 p.) 28 cm.

I happily count this as one of the more colorful children's space books of the time and an amazing treasure of early British space literature.