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From the Mundane to Magical

From the Mundane to the Magical: Photographically Illustrated Children's Books, 1854-1945 and Beyond, by Mus White. Los Angeles: Dawson's Book Shop, 1999.


Clothbound. Limited edition. A bibliographic chronicle of photographically illustrated children's books (including products by both amateurs and professionals), this book records and discusses over 1400 juvenile books illustrated with original photographs or related photo-mechanical processes. This thorough look into the history of photographically illustrated children's books is justified and well deserved.


Since 1854, beginning with the first book on the bibliographic list realized here, every photographic process employed in books for adults has also been utilized in children's books. Practical developments in the history of photography have generated a long and evolving list of processes used to illustrate children's books. The list extends from the salted paper print, the albumen print, the carbon print, the platinum print, the silver print, and the gravure print to the halftone, from black-and-white to color.

Photographically illustrated children's books have developed parallel with the artistic history of photography. By listing the book in chronological order, the relevance of this progression becomes perceptible and encourages insight into the different artistic styles and trends at work throughout the books. The primary focus of this bibliography is English-language material, but this publication also includes books from a variety of foreign countries. An exceptional book for anyone interested in juvenile literature or the history of photography and photographic illustration.