Retro Geographies

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Old atlases and ancient geograhies set my heart racing.  I dream of taking a scalpel to old maps and turning them into something new.  However, I end up falling in love with each one that comes home. 

It turns out both my husband and my mother grew up with a copy of the battered oxford one on the top.  My latest addition is the Encyclopedia Britannica one at the bottom of the pile.  It blow my mind to thin that people put together encyclopedia before the internet.  This atlas, and accompaniment to the encyclopedia, lists the leaders and economic powerhouses of each country as well.  How on earth did they keep track of all that?  Was there a hotline to the embassy in every country to ask every time they went for an update?

While we think of geographies as being timeless, there is nothing like the Golden Press Geographic Encyclopedia (c1956) to tell you how much things have changed.  For starters we have a nice pictorial of the world, to tell you what you will be doing on your trip.  So now lets get going ..

Well, New Zealand is just logs and sheep.  In fact it barely makes it onto the page. I'm sure my Australian readers will also be horrified to see how they are summed up.

So next, lets go on cruise to Antarctica for some .... whaling?

If you miss the whaling, you can always go and bludgeon a seal in Alaska.

Sometimes, I'm not sure if I should be laughing or crying.  It is nice to know the world changes, even if only by a little each year.

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  1. think of the modern equivalent. plastics, sweat shop clothes and call centres. makes me think seal clubbing wasn't so bad an occupation after all!!! i know what you mean about geography books though, especially those with the pastel colour plates that look as if they were hand coloured, beautiful things x

  2. OOO Horrified to see the poor seals and whales being killed. I thought that you were going to bring us on a nice journey!! Sadly these things still happen in places, we just don't hear about it as much. All kept very hush hush.
    Rosie xx

  3. LOL, its the geography equivalent of those instruction manuals for women on how to keep the man of the house happy! Is this where the word "naf" comes into use?

  4. visiting from op shop show off. love it all

  5. Yes, the world has changed a little! Lisa x

  6. Nooo! And this was for children? Man, times have changed!

  7. love old maps too!i like sering changes to names of countries etc xx


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