For tonight's installment of "They Don't Make Books Like They Used To," I present the 1931 edition of The Story of Siegfried, as published by Charles Scribner's Sons of New York and London.1 This edition was written by James Baldwin (originally in 1910) and features some very early work by Peter Hurd (1904-1984), who studied under N.C. Wyeth and eventually married into the family.
The cover, featuring a paste-down illustration of Siegfried riding a rainbow-maned horse, is the first cool thing about the book. This awesome horse precedes Rainbow Brite by many decades.2
The second cool thing is this old bookplate on the inside front cover...
I have no idea who Henry Stern Good was, but he had excellent taste in bookplates.
Finally, there is the endpapers illustration3, which is presumably also by Hurd. It's too large for the scanner, so I had to snap a photograph. Here it is, in all its glory...
This would appear to show Thor and his flying chariot, led by the goats Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr. I have no idea why Thor's flying-goat chariot hasn't yet been portrayed in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Possibly because it would cause a riot of everyone wanting their own flying-goat chariot, which is understandable.
1. Siegfried in a nutshell: Better known as Sigurd or Sigurðr, he's a key figure in Norse mythology. His father fought Odin (and lost) before he was born. Siegfried served as a stable boy to kings, eventually getting Grani as his own steed and then going off on his own series of adventures that involve a dragon, a magic ring, hoarded gold, the ability to converse with birds, dire prophecies, the shieldmaiden Brynhildr, and enough fighting between various combinations of lovers to fill an entire season of Dynasty. And that's just one version of his tale.
3. Other Papergreat posts feature awesome endpaper illustrations:
- Curious artistic endpapers from the 1912 novel "Corporal Cameron"
- Dubble Bubble Quiz tucked away inside an old schoolbook
- Birds wearing clothes to help children learn to read in 1930
- Sheep featured on endpapers of Elson Junior Literature book
- 1936's "Albanian Wonder Tales": Frontispiece and endpapers
- Cool map featured on endpapers of "At Camp Kee Tov"
- The Three Investigators #1: The Secret of Terror Castle
- Gorgeous endpapers in 1895's "The Young Conductor"