Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Story of Paper

This is a book from 1955 about the story of paper designed, illustrated and all handwritten in the kind of cursive penmanship once taught in public schools. It includes 3 pages of tipped-in swatches of paper and is a handbound, one-of-a-kind book made by young Joe Obzina of Seattle using a traditional Japanese stab binding. Joe created his book for a 5th grade assignment at John Hay grade school, according to his title page, and I hope he got an A on it. He took great care to follow the traditional structure of the book and included a formal handwritten title page and table of contents. He does a fine job keeping it informative by highlighting a few keynote dates, but occasionally glosses over a few centuries as if reciting directly from the Encyclopedia Britannica—the Google of its' day. Chapter VI, with his tipped-in paper swatches, especially appeals to me just to see what specialty use papers were available during the mid-50s. Bogus paper? Feco Engine paper? I never heard of these. And he lists 25 Northwest paper mills, which to my knowledge only one—the Longview Fibre Company even still exists, some 56 years later. 

I have several of these sort of handmade children's books which I will share on occasion as I find them absolutely charming. The format and structure of the printed book was—and I hope still is—such an important method to display knowledge. Imagining a young child recreating a model of an eBook report to portray their work, is so impersonal. No doubt a very useful skill, but just simply not the same.

1 comment:

  1. oh my...
    oh my oh my.
    i love this.
    everything about it speaks
    volumes to a lovely
    sort of old fashion kind of heart is sighing...


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