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January 11, 2009

Crary Library’s Visual Treats

I was scheduled to depart for an overnight stay at Lake Hoare field camp today, but snowfall and poor visibility boomeranged the helicopter shortly after lift-off. So I perused books, maps, and charts at McMurdo’s Crary Library to inspire my project’s artwork. As expected, I came across some aesthetically beautiful material. I thought I’d share some with you here.

This stapled, yellowing pocket guide is endearing; it feels like a science ‘zine. Best of all, the penguin appears to be reading the title. The book is inscribed: “Schmidt, Dec 69, from the Univ of Wisc Dept of Geology & Geophysics Science Hall.”

An endpaper gallery of “Soviet Exchange Scientist” rubber stamps greets readers of an English-Russian Dictionary issued by the State Publishing House of Foreign and National Dictionaries, Moscow, in 1960. The penguins shaking hands in friendship is priceless.

This is a detail from a 1958 publication by the Republic of South Africa on the occasion of International Geophysical Year titled World Weather Maps, Part III, Southern Hemisphere, South of 20°S. The entire book is printed in precisely registered black-and-red line art.

I’m saving the best for last. This spread appears in Traité de Zoologie: Anatomie, Systématique, Biologie : Protozoaires, Rhizopodes, Actinopodes, Sporozoaires, Cnidosporidies: Tome I. The profusely illustrated book is as thick as its title is long, and it’s Crary’s greatest visual treat. And by the way, am I the only one seeing faces in these Myxosporea?

I can’t resist showing another page from the same book, published in 1953 by Masson & Cie. in France. This one illustrates species of plasmodium, and is signed “E. Lalau.”

If tomorrow’s flight is a no-go, I’ll be back in the library looking at this book.

Filed under: McMurdo — mbartalos @ 11:49 pm


  1. very cool! love the masks that the myxosporea are wearing. the lower left one’s got a nice wig on.

    Comment by michael — January 12, 2009 @ 5:29 pm

  2. Great stuff, I love the penguins shaking hands as this was done at the height of the Cold War. Didn’t a spy plane get shot down over Russian territory around that time. Oh, by the wa, I too see faces in the illustrations. Good luck and stay warm, Robbie in S.F.

    Comment by robbie gregson — January 14, 2009 @ 9:28 am

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