Monday, January 28, 2013

Spaceport U.S.A. (1953) :The art

For those of you who aren’t interested in collector’s stories just regard this as a rerun.  Back in 2010 I posted some scans of Spaceport U.S.A. (1953). It was an early punch-out book from Whitman and had a nice space theme.  I had not seen a copy for sale before so I was thrilled to find the damaged and used copy.  Copies of this in nicer condition seem to sell for hundreds of dollars so it made sense to me that it was pretty obscure.

One of the interesting things about collecting that I have learned (but others will tell you) is that you are always learning as you collect.  By seeing (and shopping) you learn what is rare, what is common, and what is obscure.  You develop an ability to recognize something that seems different or better yet mislabeled J

So this is a brag about an unexpected item I got myself for Xmas, the original art (at least some of) to Spaceport U.S.A.

I do look for inexpensive space art in the different auction houses.  Most of the time I can’t come close to affording it but it is nice to see and as I said you are always learning.  From my blog you can tell that what I really would like to find is the art from some of the children’s books I have. I blogged about some of the pieces I have found but they have been few and far between.

These images were advertised “Space Exploration Paper Doll Book Illustration Original Art Group (undated).” So I knew where they were from and when they were published. Since this was an obscure book it was possible that I was the only person bidding who knew what they were.  That is probably why my bid for these originals won for less than the cost of buying a copy of the original punch-out book!

It is also possible that they seemed too unattractive for anyone to frame but I had them up on my wall within hours of opening them on Xmas day.  There is something about an original surviving for 60 years that carries it own special sense of history. These delicate watercolors were done by someone who had barely seen rockets take off or even imaged if a Moon base would ever be real. Beautiful hidden history. I am not sure if having the original art changes how much I enjoy these images but it does remind me what an artist faces every time they have a blank sheet of white and try to imagine how they could fill it with something no one has ever seen.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Rockets and Space Travel (1956)

The month of January is flying (rocking?) by. Here is a cool pamphlet from Britain.
Allward, Maurice F and Taylor, John W. R. Illustrated by Taylor, John W. R. ABC Rockets and Space Travel. London : Ian Allan. (64 p.) 19 cm. Softcover 1956.  Part of the "ABC Aircraft Books" series.

Filled with black and white drawings and pictures it is a basic guide to rocket theory and current rocket developments.  The ABC Aircraft Books series was one of those trainspotter-type of pamphlets for those who liked that sort of thing.

Another one to get more scans from when I dig it out of the archives.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Space Medicine (1951)

An adult book rather than a child's but significant in the history of the promotion of spaceflight. On March 3, 1950 a conference was held about "space medicine". This was one of the first professional conferences to explore how humans might react to the spaceflight environment. This book is a collection of some of the experts who presented at that conference.

Marbarger, John Porter. Space medicine; the human factor in flights beyond the earth. Urbana, IL:  Univ. of Illinois Press, 1951.

In fact this may have been the first "popular" book about space biology. Here is an illustration speculating what kind of plants might be on Mars.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Looking Into Science-The booklets (1965)

More cool space in school stuff.  In the 1960s in California they would not only have space stuff in science textbooks, they would break up the chapters into separate booklets for the class to study.  Here is a set of the booklets derived from the 1965 textbook "Looking Into science" above. I love the design on these covers and think you will too.