Friday, July 19, 2013

Great links: Book covers, a really old cookbook and Vivian Maier

I hope you're escaping the extreme heat that is blasting some portions of the globe on this Friday in July. It's expected to be about 102° F here in southcentral Pennsylvania.

Here are some ephemera-related links to check out while you stay cool...

The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies

This is an amazing blog devoted to centuries-old English recipes, found within what they've dubbed The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies. The blog's About page states:

"The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies is a manuscript recipe book in the collections of Westminster City Archives. The recipes, recorded in several different hands, span 150 years of British cookery, providing a fascinating insight into culinary craft of the Georgian and Regency periods.

"We know little about the provenance of the Cookbook, and its passage from the eighteenth-century kitchen to our library shelves is shrouded in mystery.

"It was originally thought that the book was written by a group of ladies about the year 1761, the date deriving from a rough note on the original binding. However, there are later recipes interspersed among those from the Eighteenth Century. ... Other recipes appear to have been compiled far earlier than 1761. Our analysis of handwriting and spelling in the cookbook suggests that some of its entries were written at the beginning of the Eighteenth Century, and in a few cases may even pre-date 1700."

Featured recipes include Cow Heel, Sweet Spinach Tart, Gooseberry Vinegar, and Irish Sack (honey wine).

The Decline and Fall of the Book Cover

In "The Decline and Fall of the Book Cover" on The New Yorker website, Tim Kreider writes:

"I was a nerdy sci-fi-reading kid in the seventies. The so-called golden age of book and magazine illustration had died out some decades earlier ... but superb illustration was still thriving in the marginal niches of pulp and genre covers. ... Looking at those old, beloved covers made me wonder: How come books for kids get to look so mysterious and tantalizing and spooky, while books for us grownups have to be so dull? Why don’t the covers of mainstream literary books make me feel that same way—almost scared to find out what’s inside?"

The Amazing Photography of Vivian Maier

OK, I understanding that I'm a little late to the dance on Vivian Maier, having just stumbled upon her story earlier this month.

But it's still incredible and worth sharing.

Vivian Dorothea Maier (1926–2009) was an amateur street photographer, mostly in Chicago, who remained unknown and didn't even develop much of her film during her lifetime. Yet her work is amazing. The story of her life and post-death "discovery" reminds me of another Chicago outsider artistHenry Darger.

A good place to start learning about Maier is this February 2013 post on Messy Nessy Chic: "Found at Auction: The Unseen Photographs of a Legend that Never Was."

After that, check out these sites:

Chill out in the archives

Finally, here are some wintry posts from the Papergreat archives that can also help you remember the times when the world wasn't broiling...

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