Friday, January 22, 2016

A Maxton Book About Space Travel (1958)

A Maxton Book About Space Travel  is a happily dated book from the late 1950s. I say dated because many of the design ideas were outmoded within 2 years of publication.

This post is a re-run/expansion of this Sept 23, 2011 posting:

Written by Spielberg, Dr. Kurt. Illustrated by Hutchinson, William M. Space Travel. New York: Maxton Publishing Co. (28 p.) 27 cm.

The author's son, James N Spielberg wrote me: "My late father, Dr. Kurt Spielberg, wrote the entire text for this book in 1958. He was a PhD in physics and taught at City College of New York at the time.He is world famous for his work in Operations Research.  In the mid-60s, this book was in my fourth grade class library, and none of the other children would believe me when I told them that my father was the author. But he was. He was a great man, had a career that spanned decades at IBM, and is sadly missed."

 A simple book covering all aspect of space travel including history, physics, U.S. and Russian space efforts, building a space station, manned exploration of the Moon, and exploration of the planets. It has wonderful paintings of all these things devoting a page or two to each topic. "A Maxton Book about" series. See 1960 update and 1963 UK Reprint

William Hutchinson is a wonderful illustrator. I like his soft touch illustrating these different space topics.

 I also like the prediction of future exploration. The "space flight progression" is illustrated nicely as we move from earth orbit, to the Moon, to planetary exploration.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Stray Leaves from the Book of Nature (1859)

So this is a strange post for you all. Back there in the 1800s there were science philosophers.  I was struck by this passage written at the time about "A Trip to the Moon." Based in science but with a eye towards imagination and poetry. So imagine you have a telescope and a little science and want to expand people's ideas of what might be possible.

The whole book (because it is out of copyright) is online here:

So poetic but watch how he tries to bring you to the surface of the moon.

The most popular theory of where craters came from at the time was volcanic actions

Friday, January 8, 2016

Astronauts on the Moon (1970)

One of the few pop-up books I have found with a cover, so this is what is under the cover, most people find it used this way.

This is another one of those books that used to be in used book stores everywhere. It is always challenging to show off a pop-up but the paintings in this one are very nice.

Hendricks, Stanley. Illustrated by Muenchen, Al. Paper mechanics and layout by Howard Lohnes.Astronauts on the Moon. New York: Hallmark Cards. (16 p.) 24 cm. Illustrated Boards.

One of the most popular juvenile pop-up space books. Has nice illustrations and good paper engineering for the pop-ups. This book is inexpensive to find used and is fun to look at.  The pop-up of the lunar landing is particularly striking. Reprinted in 1974 with board cover with color photograph.



Friday, January 1, 2016

Building Reading Skills (1951)

Space flight illustrations were used as a "hook" to teach all kinds of things.  In the 1960s it was the Space Race. In the 1950s it was identifying with all those television space heroes (like Tom Corbett from last week's post).

Building reading skills. Leila Armstrong and Rowena Hargrave. Wichita, Kan. : McCormick-Mathers Pub. Co., 143 p. 21 cm. 1951

The Building Reading Skills 6 book series was first used in 1951, but I can find re-prints and re-usage of it until the 1970s. These were the titles of the 1950's series:

And these were the titles in the 1971 listing I found: Level 1. Speed boat book.--Level 2. Streamliner book.--Level 3. Jet plane book.--Level 4. Rocket book.--Level 5. Atomic submarine book.--Level 6. Spaceship book. Slightly updated but with substantially the same content.

 Really nothing about space flight at all except these tiny chapter header illustrations. They are a little like slices of a very tiny 1950s science fiction film.

 The only space content in the text is this short passage about the Moon.