Sunday, December 2, 2012

1863 Book of Snowflakes

Snowflake lettering as decorative as the ice crystals themselves.
     Snow-flakes, A Chapter From the Book of Nature was first published in Boston in 1863 by the evangelical American Tract Society. The fanciful gothic blackletter foil-stamped imprint on the cover is repeated in the title page below. The book itself does not attempt to explore any scientific research, although many fine illustrations of snowflake structures are included which were drawn with the aid of a microscope by; no lie, a Mr. James Glaisher, Esq. The tone of the entire text takes on religious overtones, with chapter titles such as "Perfection, Purity, Grace and Beauty", but the accuracy of Mr. Glaisher's illustrations reasonably illustrate the variety of ice crystal formations.
     As an aside, the first photographs of the ephemeral crystals were made in 1885 by Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley of Vermont. After making this his life's work, he later published a monograph illustrated with 2500 snow crystal photographs which became the definitive guide to their structures. He donated many of his glass plates to the Buffalo Museum of Science which can be viewed in their digital archive.        

Initial Snow Caps

Each chapter opening in Snow-flakes begins with wood engraved scenes of ice, frost and snow-festooned initial cap letters. Not likely the designs of Mr. Glaisher, but appreciated much the same. Find the entire text here.
::Thank you Present & Correct!  

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