The New York Public Library has opened up a massive digital archive for public use and perusal. Among thousands of images, some of our favorite finds are from the book jacket collection, which begins with the 1920s and 1930s.
Not only can you unearth awesome-looking designs and typography in these archives, but the inside and back-cover blurbs are totally precious, full of dated language and praise for the “fine” writers readers will encounter (as well as a few unfortunate uses of ethnic descriptors). They’ve got plenty of insight to offer into how promotional copy and graphic design were used back in the day. And the topics, from the rise of Israel to the allure of perfume, from kids’ books to Hollywood tell-all guides to politics for ladies and books we still consider classics, are a great mix of eternal and temporal.
Enjoy our favorites below.
The Mystery and Lure of Perfume, 1927
The Intelligent Woman’s guide to Socialism and Capitalism, 1928.
“That’s New York!” 1926
The Book of Poe, 1929
The Future of Israel, 1926
Emerson and Others, 1927
A New Approach To American History, 1931
A Farewell to Arms, 1930
Architecture and Modern Life, 1937
Jean Harlow: Hollywood Comet, 1937