Books

Post image for The Nostalgic Glow of New York City’s Remaining Historic Neon Signs

Neon and New York City had their ups and downs over the 20th century, from the glowing signage being an innovative advertisement in the 1920s and ’30s to already telegraphing seediness with its flickering in the 1940s and ’50s.

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Post image for All that Glitters Isn’t Gold — Sometimes It’s Silver from Tiffany’s

The Morgan Library and Museum continues to spotlight some of its glittering books beneath the revamped lighting in its historic 1906 McKim Building.

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Post image for Photographs of the Birds and Bones in US National Park Collections

When a wayward tufted titmouse slammed against photographer Leah Sobsey’s window, the bird’s tiny corpse suddenly recalled all the natural specimens that had captivated her as a child at Chicago’s Field Museum.

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Post image for A Photographer’s Two-Year Journey to Document Sacred Cows

There’s a beauty in the bovine’s domesticated body that inspired Daniel Naudé to spend two years taking portraits of cows.

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Post image for Vladimir Nabokov’s Scientific Butterfly Illustrations

At the end of Vladimir Nabokov’s poem “Pale Fire,” he describes how “White butterflies turn lavender as they / Pass through its shade where gently seems to sway / The phantom of my little daughter’s swing.”

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Post image for A Visual Homage to Brutalist Behemoths

Even while major Brutalist structures face preservation issues — like Marcel Breuer’s Central Library in Atlanta, whose fate is being decided now — the aesthetic of these concrete-based buildings continues to gain in popularity.

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Post image for The Relics of Victorian Natural History in Eye-Popping Stereoscope

Natural history storerooms are a bit like drowned Noah’s Arks, with specimens from every realm of the animal world posthumously preserved.

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Post image for The Life of One of the 20th Century’s Most Influential Nude Models

“That which is the immodesty of other women has been my virtue — my willingness that the world should gaze upon my figure unadorned,” Audrey Munson, the favorite nude model of the Beaux Arts movement in the United States, once proclaimed.

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Post image for The Forgotten Artistic Playgrounds of the 20th Century

No matter if your childhood playground had a rusted metal slide that was scorching hot in summer or a sleek and safe structure of soft plastic climbing walls and swings, it’s likely that you created your own narrative of play.

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Post image for Illustrated Dolphins and Vampire Squid from the Dawn of Ocean Exploration

In the 16th century, Pierre Belon published one of the earliest scientific depictions of a dolphin: a woodcut with finely hatched skin and pointed teeth.

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