In 1898, as part of a larger strategy to transform his New York World newspaper, Joseph Pulitzer bought a high-speed color printing press—seventy tons, with forty thousand moving parts. Appearing in the paper’s Sunday edition, color pictures leavened the news with wonder: a pioneering night photographer captured the glorious electrification of St. Louis during the World’s Fair; an illustrator charged with covering the Great Airship Race of 1904 before anyone had seen the ships resourcefully drew the imagined perspective of an airborne competitor. As Baker notes in his introduction, Pulitzer was near-blind when color illustrations were introduced: “The more his own sight dimmed, the more imploringly colorful his paper became.
Husband and wife team Baker (Double Fold) and Brentano rescued one of the last surviving sets of the New York World from the British Library and, in a labor of love, sorted through a decade's worth of its issues. They present reproductions of comics, advertisements, portraits, political cartoons, caricatures and other illustrations from the turn-of-the-20th-century mass-circulation daily paper. These images, they say, celebrate a "vaudeville revue of urban urges and preoccupations." To take a sampling of these fascinating illustrations (all elucidated by Brentano's historically illuminating captions): an 1899 two-page real estate spread features delicate black-and-white drawings of the Astor holdings, "like bars of music in a hymnal of real estate." From the same year, a green and red portrait of Mark Twain accompanies his piece, "My First Lie and How I Got Out of It." For a 1909 story headlined "New York Has Seven Levels of Transit," a cutaway illustration highlight's the city's transportation, from tunnels under the river to the Brooklyn Bridge. This quirky volume brings to life an era and makes an almost lost art form widely available again. 144 four-color illus. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
In Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper, Baker decried the wholesale disposal of print newspapers for microfilm; with this beautiful oversize volume, he shows what libraries are now missing. He and coauthor/ wife Brentano purchased runs of Joseph Pulitzer's New York newspaper, the World, from the British Library and before donating the set to Duke University's libraries had many of the newspaper's full-page illustrations photographed. The result is a gorgeous snapshot of newspaper history and Americana. Baker's wonderful introduction reminds us of the importance of newspapers in the recreational and social lives of turn-of-the-century readers. Arranged chronologically from 1898 to 1911, the 144 carefully selected illustrations offer examples of reporting, fashion drawings, comic strips, society pieces, games, and activity pages. Also included are illustrations that made use of new technologies, such as the night photographs taken at the St. Louis Fair of 1904. Brentano supplies brief and helpful captions to provide the context for each page. This book will appeal to interested general readers, as well as specialists in graphic design, journalism, and American studies. Recommended for academic and large public libraries.-Judy Solberg, George Washington Univ. Libs., Washington, DC Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.