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Fireside Book of Folk Songs

September 28, 2010

I went to the library today, and as I wandered around looking at all the outdated books, I noticed one that looked like it had great potential. I was not disappointed. I am a huge fan of mid-century design, especially illustrations. What I found is the Fireside Book of Folk Songs and it’s full of illustrations by Alice and Martin Provensen. It was originally published in 1947 (evidenced by their use of the word negro) and the copy I found is the fifth edition. Take a look at some of the gems of illustration in this baby.

The front and back cover, and the inside flap.

The title page and a few other illustrations.

You can't go wrong with a unicorn and a little boy listening to a songbird.

So much goodness, including the "e" in "home" that couldn't fit on the same line and a fish using a telescope.

Definitely one of my favorite spreads (top and bottom left photos) and a few of the beautiful borders.

This is apparently what happens when you drink too much.

Such talented sea creatures--a violin-playing lobster and a harmonica-playing crab.

A few of the great font and font treatments in the book.

These are a sampling of the illustrations I loved, but I thought I should probably spare you from my rants and raves about how much I love them all.  If you love this kind of design, you should also check out the blog Grain Edit, and the sites for Matte Stephens and Ward Jenkins (especially this post).

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