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Art Filled Days » New Categories, Reusable Art News » Hello 2016, Hello 1911 Encyclopedia & Maps

Hello 2016, Hello 1911 Encyclopedia & Maps

I admit that it’s been more than a little while since I’ve posted anything new here on Art Filled Days. However, that doesn’t mean that Reusable Art and Free Vintage Art have not been getting great new vintage images.

As we enter 2016, there’s already been two great major to Reusable Art – a section dedicated to the 11th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica™ and vintage maps.

I hope to go through all 29 volumes of the encyclopedia and try to find the best image scans available for many of the wonderful illustrations that were contained among the thousands of pages.

The 11th edition was a special one, often seen as the scholar’s edition. It was created when the company was moving from Great Britain to the United States. A lot of changes were made and not all of them were well-recieved. It is considered a public domain work throughout much of the world, if not everywhere.

albatross drawing from an 1911 encyclopediaIt contained contributions from many subject matter experts and even had over 200 women contributors. It is a work with some controversy as many of the authors clearly included their own opinions on some of the topics – opinions which many 21st century scholars feel are not politically correct. Even scholars from 1911, when the work was published, cried foul about some of the entries. Going through a number of the entries, I’ve seen things that while politically incorrect are factually correct and others that are simply a poor reflection of how scholars might have felt about people who practiced a different sort of lifestyle. Ironically, for such a “flawed” work, I found rumors (and some evidence) that the 11th edition was used in building Wikipedia.

The good news for us is that the text isn’t what we’re after anyway. It is all of the wonderful illustrations of animals, plants, inventions and all of the other great stuff one would find in a scholarly encyclopedia. I’ve been working with the first volume and have been adding all sorts of interesting illustrations of things that start with the letter A – like the wonderful albatross bird drawing that I’m showing here.

It was the maps of the 11th edition that finally convinced me that it was well past time to begin including maps on Reusable Art. I knew many mixed media artists were using maps for background images but the fact that they are often so far out of date compared to today’s maps made me hesitate adding them. What a mistake on my part! They are like mini history lessons. So many of the maps from 1911 have changed. Country names, capital cities and even the transition from territory to state are represented in the great maps from this encyclopedia. What a great learning opportunity for today’s students! And what great graphical images to use in creative projects!

North America Map by Samuel MitchellIn trying to find a few other maps to share with you, I’ve been introduced to the wonderful work of Samuel Mitchell. Mitchell was known for his wonderful world atlas that he published for American school children. He started in 1839 and would update the maps each year as history unfolded. I hope to add more of his work in the coming months.

The first one, 1858 North America is a wonderful snapshot of the Americas in 1858. Alaska was still owned by Russia, much of Canada is simply identified as New Britain and many of the places are spelled differently than we are familiar with. The gold fields are marked as is the failed transatlantic telegraph cable that was only used for 3 weeks in 1858. His maps are beautiful works of art and great conversation starters. I would think they would still be a great addition to any classroom.

Filed under: New Categories, Reusable Art News

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