I like old things

If you check out my profile or my bio on Drawn!, you'll see that I like old things. More specifically, old books, pamphlets, booklets, and general ephemera. I have a growing collection of the stuff, and apparently it's not letting up. (I bought 3 books just last week.) So, I've been wanting to share some of my collection with you guys for quite a while, but again, finding the time to scan is so rare for me. So, finally, I was able to scan some books recently and today I'd like to share with you all my first batch.

I love old children's books, but the most entertaining to me are the textbooks and the illustrated learning series kind. The 50's to early 60's were an interesting time for growing up and I've got the books to prove it. These two books are part of a "community helpers series," with covers that sport surprisingly great designs and color. Busy Office, Busy People has the better illustrations, with the art credited to Charles Lynch. What Can Money Do? is illustrated by Kevin Royt, but the style is rougher and does not have that tighter line quality you find in Lynch's work.

Hope you enjoy. There'll be more soon.


  1. those are great ward. now, is it just me, or do both of those covers share the EXACT same composition?

    (i look forward to seeing more)

  2. Hmm... by looking at those covers, one can assume that child labor was a common practice in the 1950's. People also had very simple features. ;)
    Cool stuff Ward.

  3. Ward,

    What I find interesting about both covers are the gender roles represented. Women are in subserviant or service positions. Both men are prominent, but waiting for the women to finish whatever they are doing -- and the women seem to be doing everything!

    I wonder what the covers of comparible books today would represent? Hmm. Do you think they'd show more obvious signs of "race" (as complicated a term as that is today)?

    Nice find, Ward.

  4. You can tell that the people who created this material were REALLY concerned with diversity! Hee hee...

    As an illustrator, I dig looking back at old illustrations like this. One interesting thing I've noticed in doing some research on the Revolution is that most illustrations from the 50's depicting the Revolution show white men--all barrel chested, aryan-looking with blong hair and square jaws. It's an interesting study in how social climates influence the ways that illustrators visualize history... I hope that makes sense...

  5. I understand what you're saying, James and I completely agree. How we look at history and historical events almost always are tainted with a current mindset. (But what you're doing with that children's book is right on! Keep it up!)

    You all should see what's inside these books, as all the women have jobs as secretary, file clerk, typist, etc. There is one woman shown as "factory worker," so there was still some hope, but the damage has already been done. You know, I'll scan some of the insides and post them up, as they are pretty interesting. And thus, you see why I love these books!

  6. I noticed this is an art blog. I'm not a pro or anything but I have an art blog at

    I like to draw Disney style, but I would never copy a character and say its "my art." I get ideas from characters. I made one of my own the other day. LOL I named the character 'Candice'. Check it out if your not busy. I'm only 16 (17 on April 8th)

    God Bless!

  7. I'm that girl that used to go by the name Ngakaari.
    I now have a new site with my poetry on it which you can view when you have the time.
    I'm 20 btw.

  8. i have a strange fascination with old pieces of art as well, especially of the sort that you've posted here. i like to go to thrift stores and find random treasures, from children's illustrated books dated back half a century to accessory pieces-- clocks with that 60s/70s feel, plates sporting the brown/green/orange flowers.
    nice post. appreciated.

  9. Wow, I like old stuff too, except I'm more into the whole old model airplanes and old music, though everyone thinks thats kind of weird...

  10. Hey guys, I just scanned in some inside pages to Busy Office, Busy People, so expect to see some more of that book soon...

  11. Reminds me of my highschool art teacher, circa 1980. He had that 1950s style about his drawings which was what impressed me about him. Those artist just drew right out their heads, unlike me who needs plenty of photo reference.