World Book Encyclopedia

Day 130

First edition books intrigue me. I’m not sure why really. I’m not a collector by any means, but there is something magical about the first edition. It’s the birth of a creation released into the world without knowing how it will be received or if it will be treasured.

Today I set out on a journey to find what I thought was entitled The History of Costume by Millia Davenport. After much research, I think the book title may actually be The Book of Costume — I’m still not clear on that. There are many reprints, but I was really looking for the first edition which I now think came out in 1948.

Clothing and costumes have always intrigued me. My grandfather had a photograph on his bedroom dresser of him with his railroad and bridgebuilding companions. I’m sure it was taken in the early 1900s. I just remember the long dark trench coats and the button shoes. I was fascinated. Somewhere through time, that picture was lost but the image will always be with me.

As a little girl, I remember fondly the old World Book Encyclopedia we had. I think it was the edition published in 1960 — 20 volumes. Beige cover with gold letters and a blue or black spine. (I wonder how my parents afforded such a thing!) But what I remember most about this set of encyclopedias is the pages of illustrations — specifically costumes.

They were grouped by century or decade and I was intrigued by the clothing and how it changed throughout time. I spent hours looking at these costumes and just imagining life at that time. I would love to have that volume again — just for nostalgia purposes. (No desire to try to find room for an entire set of encyclopedias.)

We recently went to The Biltmore House when the costumes from the movie “Titanic” were on display. I loved it and hope to go back this month to see the display of the actual clothing worn by the Vanderbilts. I don’t care about the money and the prestige, I just love the grandeur of the costumes.

So, enough blogging for now. It’s time to return to the search for my book.