Illustrator James Gordon Irving and the Golden Nature Guides / by Leslie

Chris discovered a bunch of books that he had as a kid in his parent's basement. This original 1955 Golden Nature Guide about Mammals is one of Milo and Quinn's new favorite books. It's the perfect size for their little hands and they are enamored with the illustrations. Everything in this book is drawn and this somehow makes it a bit more accessible. Drawings can be gentler than photographs and idealized to a point where you just want to hug all the animals.

The illustrator for the Mammals book, James Gordon Irving, contributed to a number of the original Golden Nature guides, including Insects, Fishes, Birds and Stars (covers below). I wasn't able to find very much information about him on the internet. His original illustrations appear in five of the reissued guides by St. Martin's Press.


Here is a complete list of all the original titles, with links to details including the cover images.

From Wikipedia:

"The Golden Guides, originally Golden Nature Guides, are a series of pocket-sized books that were created by Western Publishing and published under their "Golden Press" line (mostly used for children's books at the time) beginning in 1949. Intended for Grade to High-School level, the series began as field guides with such titles as Birds (1949)Flowers (1950), and Mammals (1955) and then expanded to a wider range of subjects that weren't strictly identification guides.

They have become quite collectible, and some of the rarer titles (such as Hallucinogenic Plants) can fetch high prices depending on the edition and condition."

For more like this, visit Paper Sponge, my new favorite website. It's all things ephemera, which is one of my favorite words and favorite things. I have a lot of paper ephemera, stamps, postcards, letters, books, labels... the older the better. Do you like to collect old paper things?