Sunday, February 19, 2012

A very old Jules Verne book cover and a 1960 band photo

Today's two items come from school books decades apart...

First up is an undated, but quite old, hardcover featuring two works by Jules Verne. Pictured at right is the cover of the volume, which contains 1865's "From the Earth to the Moon" and 1870's "Around the Moon."1

It was published by A.L. Burt of New York, and, if I had to hazard a guess, I'd say it was issued sometime between 1890 and 1905.

Written in neat cursive handwriting on the inside front cover is the following:

No. 14.
Property of
Sch. No. 3 Dis't. No. 8.
Chas. Co. Md.

I'm sure that I could find, somewhere, a history of the numbered schools and school districts within Charles County, Maryland.

Getting back to the cover -- it's scuffed, worn and faded, but you can see how beautiful the full illustration must have been before time took its toll. One thing I find interesting is that the bookshelf is curtained, which one might imagine would be an enviable design touch for certain areas.

If you narrow in on just the young man and bookshelf, you get this attractive cropped image:2

While Verne's fantastic fiction was written in the wake of the Civil War, today's second book was published in 1958, after two 20th century world wars had taken place. It's volume one of "World Civilizations" by Edward McNall Burns and Philip Lee Ralph.

But what caught my eye was not Burns' and Ralph's text encompassing the Stone Age to the Commercial Revolution.

No, in leafing through the book, I was stopped by the discovery of a single snapshot tucked away inside.

The photo, dated September 1960, shows a band practicing somewhere more than a half-century ago. The back of the photo reveals only that it was taken by Eze Obi and that it was printed on Kodak Velox Paper.3 Here it is:

I doubt we'll ever be able to identify what band this is, practicing on a lined football field. But, just in case there are any clues to be found, here are a couple closeups of the band members:

1. Interestingly, the title page contains a slight variation on the title of the sequel. It lists the two novels as "From the Earth to the Moon, and Round the Moon" (not "Around the Moon"). Furthermore, according to Wikipedia, the two novels were later officially combined into one novel titled "A Trip to the Moon and Around It."
2. In case you missed it, these were my favorite Papergreat images of 2011.
3. Although the photo is dated on the front, the words "Kodak Velox Paper" on the back could have helped us to generally date the photo, too, according to David Rudd Cycleback, who writes on that "If the back of the photo has the three line printing 'Kodak/Velox/Paper,' the photo dates circa 1950s-60s."

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