21 Google Book Scans That Bring Surprising Intimacy To The Digital Book World

Just when physical book lovers were losing hope in a world of Kindles and iPads, Google Book Art emerged. Since 2011, this Tumblr has collected the detailed, often beautiful, images that lay not in the writing itself but the history of the eyes who read it.

1. A sweet child-painted drawing shows the subtle treasures hidden in books.

Throughout The Dutch Twins by Lucy Fitch Perkins (1911). Digitized April 7, 2005.

2. Even the images, simply titled “Employee’s Hand” look like eery pieces of pop art.

An Account of the Societies for Reformation of Manners, in England and Ireland by Josiah Woodward (1701). Digitized Jan. 24, 2011.

3. And the basics of the library books become oddly comforting.

From the front matter of English Traditional Songs and Carols edited by Lucy Etheldred Broadwood (1908). Original from Harvard University. Digitized Nov. 6, 2007.

4. “The End” is framed by blotted ink marks.

From p. 450, Female Piety: or, The Young Woman’s Friend and Guide Through Life to Immortality by John Angell James (1853). Digitized Feb. 13, 2007

5. “Distortion”

 

All from A Prognostication of Right Good Effect, Fructfully Augmented Contayninge Playne, Briefe, Pleasant, Chosen Rules (1555). Digitized Jan. 20, 2011.

6. “Digitization Equipment”

 

The front and back of Six Questions, Stated and Answered, Upon which the Whole Force of the Arguments for and Against the Peerage-bill Depends (1719). Digitized Oct. 17, 2011.

7. “The halo of a removed flower”

From The Ladies’ Work-table Book: Containing Clear and Practical Instructions in Plain and Fancy Needlework, Embroidery, Knitting, Netting, and Crochet (1845). Digitized March 17, 2008.

8. A map left folded.

The frontispiece to An Autumn Near the Rhine (1818). Probably from Stanford Library, date of digitization unclear.

9. “Neon moiré”

Throughout Alpha Portland Cement for Eternity (1913). Digitized Sept. 28, 2010.

10. “Frontispiece image transferred to the front page.”

From the title page of The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, v. 13-14 (1829). Original from Princeton University. Digitized July 18, 2011.

11. “Marbled paper curls and peels”

From the rear cover of A Brief Account of Many of the Prosecutions of the People Call’d Quakers in the Exchequer, Ecclesiastical, and Other Courts by Joseph Besse (1736). Digitized June 22, 2006.

12. “Ghostwrist”

From p. 686 of Proceedings of the Institution of Electrical Engineers, v. 59 (1921). Digitized April 13, 2012.

13. “Employees Hands”

Top: From Theodori Gaze Institutionis Grammaticae Liber Primus (1543). Digitized June 13, 2012.

Bottom: From De Anima by Oswald Coscan and Sebastian Model (1616). Digitized July 19, 2011.

14. A doodle left for those who make it to the end of the book.

The Principles of Advertising: A Text Book by Harry Tipper (1920). Digitized Oct. 12, 2007.

15. “Photographs of digitization equipment superimposed with cover and bookplate images, with neon glitch.”

 

From History of the Postage Stamps of the United States of America by John Kerr Tiffany (1887). Probably from Stanford University, digitization date is unknown.

16. “An employee’s fingers, a transformative gutter, and color samples.”

Index of Colours and Mixed Tints by Theodore Henry A. Fielding (1830). Digitized March 31, 2006.

17. The Eiffel Tower photographed through folded tissue.

From The Colour of Paris: Historic, Personal & Local, ed. by Lucien Descaves (1908). Digitized June 28, 2006.

18. A drawing of a young girl.

From p. 98 of Poems for Children by Celia Thaxter (1884). Digitized Nov. 28, 2007.

19. And a drawing of a young woman.

From p. 326 of Simon the Jester by William John Locke (2011). Digitized Dec. 11, 2007.

20. A GIF of a stain’s depth, appropriately titled, “Stain.”

From Mirth in Miniature: or, Bursts of Merriment (1825). Digitized Feb. 25, 2008.

21. And finally, an apt reminder who all books belong to.

The Following of the Star: A Romance by Florence Louisa Barclay (1911). Digitized April 18, 2008.

For more google book art, visit the Tumblr.

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