Engineering & Technology
(Thames Tunnel) Wood, J. T. | Peepshow titled “Thames Tunnel Wapping Entrance”
A charming, hand-coloured Victorian peepshow toy depicting Marc and Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s Thames Tunnel. This particular example is uncommon and seemingly unrecorded. The only other J. T. Wood Thames Tunnel peepeshows we can locate are double-decker examples sold by Dominic Winter in 2010 and 2017.
The tunnel under the Thames between Wapping and Rotherhithe was an engineering marvel – the first to be constructed beneath a navigable river and the first project to use the tunnelling shield newly designed by the elder Brunel. Construction was stop-and-start between 1825 and 1841, when the full 1300-foot length was finally completed, and over the next two years the shaft was fitted out before opening to the public in 1843. Though originally designed for cart traffic, the tunnel was mainly used by pedestrians and became a popular tourist attraction and underground market, with many publishers producing books, prints, and peepshows depicting the tunnel before it was closed to the public and converted into a railway in the 1860s.
This peepshow was published by J. T. Wood sometime between 1845, when he moved into his premises at 33 Holywell Street, and 1858, when 78 Strand became his primary place of business. Wood initially trained as a copper-plate printer, and the earliest extant item with his imprint is an 1841 broadside celebrating the birth of Edward VII. Wood specialised in views and souvenirs, and produced enamel cards of London vistas as well as scenes of the Great Exhibition of 1851. He also published “chapbooks and populist part-works in penny numbers... acted as an agent for the toy-theatre publishers, producing several toy-theatre plays of his own. And he built up a range of stationery products, many of them intended and advertised for wholesale and export rather than simply retail sale. He offered notepaper; envelopes; foreign fancy prints; tomb cards and tablets; window and show cards; poetry cards (in gold, silver, satin, and gelatine, embossed and perforated, and in envelopes); puzzle, toy and conversation cards; embroidery, knitting and crochet books and patterns; children’s books; and almanacks” (Worms, “J. T. Wood of the Strand”, The Bookhunter on Safari blog, July 30th, 2013).
London: J. T. Wood, c. 1845-1858.
Concertina-style peepshow with three hand-coloured, engraved sections and an uncoloured engraved frontispiece pasted to a piece of thick, blue card. Bound in the original marbled boards with red cloth backstrip measuring 150 x 115 mm. Corners of the binding and the ends of the spine worn, a few other weak spots in the backstrip, a little spotting to the frontispiece and spotting and offsetting to the connecting paper strips. The slips attaching the scenes to the connecting strips may be newer, but it is difficult to know for sure. Very good condition.
Babcock & Wilcox Co. | Dampf. Dessen Erzeugung und Verwendung nebst katalog der Fabrikate
“Steam, Its Production and Use, together with a Catalogue of Manufactures”. A very attractive 1893 German language catalogue of the pioneering power firm Babcock & Wilcox, the first edition of which was published in 1875.
This 180-page catalogue is heavily illustrated with both photos and engravings. In addition to specifications for the firm’s boiler models, it includes a detailed overview of steam power and the operations of different types of boilers, as well as information about the company and a complete list of the boilers they have already installed. Loosely inserted is a single leaf advert for the Babcock & Wilcox boiler “with Colonial Furnace, suitable for burning green bagasse”, and three charming, pictorial advertising flyers for equipment produced by the Bopp & Reuther firm of Mannheim, Germany.
Babcock & Wilcox was founded as a manufacturer of industrial steam boilers in Providence, Rhode Island in 1867, and has remained a leader in power generation to the present day. Among their many achievements have been: the supply of a boiler for Edison’s Menlo Park laboratory in 1878; the powering of America’s first electricity-producing central generating station in Philadelphis in 1881; supplying the equipment for Edison’s Pearl Street Station in New York City, the worlds first public electrical utility, which opened in 1882 (Edison would later write that Babcock & Wilcox manufactured “the best boiler God has permitted man yet to make”); the supply of boilers to power US and British naval vessels in the 1890s; the production of electricity for New York’s first subway; the construction of the water pipe system at the Hoover Dam; and the supply of weapons components for the Manhattan Project and equipment for the world’s first nuclear-powered sub, the USS Nautilus.
...der Babcock & Wilcox Co. 30 Cortlandt Street, New York und von Babcock & Wilcox, Limited 114 Newgare Street, London. New York & London: Babcock & Wilcox, March, 1893.
Tall quarto. Original brown cloth blocked in gilt and blind, all edges red, floral patterned endpapers. Lithographic half title. Engravings and illustrations from photos throughout. Ownership ink stamp of Edmund Prechtel to front pastedown and title, ownership signature of the same to the front blank. Cloth a little rubbed and spotted with some scattered loss of size, small tear at the base of the spine panel, contents faintly toned. Excellent condition.
Beight, Mary Catherine Grady | NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Archive
Due to this archive's size and weight, additional shipping costs will apply. Please contact us for details.
An incredible archive documenting the work of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory between 1965 and 1984, the golden age of uncrewed space exploration, compiled by female control room mission specialist Mary Catherine Grady Beight (1917-2012). The heart of the archive are the 148 photographs taken during the Apollo, Mariner, Pioneer, Viking, Voyager, and Galileo missions, some of which were only released in-house, rather than as public relations packets. There are also congratulatory printed letters to staff from JPL directors, staff newsletters, certificates of achievement, and a small number of souvenirs.
NASA’s Jet propulsion Laboratory was founded in the 1930s as a Caltech student club for amateur rocketry. During the Second World War it was sponsored by the US Army and became a fully-fledged research centre focusing on rocketry. Within three months of Sputnik’s launch in October 1957, JPL had built the United States’ first satellite, Explorer 1, and in 1958 the organisation was transferred to the control of the new civilian space agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, while remaining under the management of Caltech. “The Laboratory began to turn its attention from the rockets themselves to the payloads they would carry. Developing these payloads - scientific spacecraft - would become the new focus and place JPL at the center of the Space Race with the Soviet Union... Thus commenced a long series of "first ever" accomplishments by JPL that helped define history's first five decades of space exploration” (JPL website “History & Archives” page).
Women were key employees of JPL from the very beginning of its life as a government research centre. The first was Barbara Canright, hired in 1939 as a mathematical computer to work on the first federal grant project, the development of a rocket plane. More female computers, and eventually engineers and mission specialists, quickly followed (see Holt, Rise of the Rocket Girls, 2016). The compiler of this archive, Mary Catherine Beight, was born in 1917 and attended the LA Business College. Though it is unclear what her previous career was, she joined JPL at age 47 in 1964, and worked as a control room mission specialist for the Deep Space Network before retiring in the mid-1980s. Founded in 1958, the DSN is a world-wide array of communications facilities that support NASA’s interplanetary missions by monitoring and communicating with uncrewed spacecraft. Beight’s role on this team meant her involvement with almost every major mission undertaken during her two decades with JPL, and this probably accounts for the great breadth of her archive.
The archive begins with Apollo missions 5, 8, 10, 11, 14, 15, and 17. Apollo 8 was the first manned mission to orbit the Moon, and included here are photographs of its launch (the first using a Saturn V rocket); the Western hemisphere as seen from the capsule on December 21st; and the full Moon and images of the lunar surface, including the far side. Apollo 10, the “dress rehearsal” for the Moon landing is represented with a photo of the Lunar Module in its practice descent orbit, and the Apollo 11 vehicle is depicted on the launch pad in the early morning. Four photos depict lift-off of Apollo 14 and the equipment and activity on the Lunar surface during Apollo 14, 15, and 17. Additionally, there are photographs of some of the astronauts and the mission patches, a booklet on Apollo 8, and two NASA fact sheets for schools about “Weightlessness” and “Telemetry”. The Deep Space Network was not the primary means of communication for the Apollo missions, but did contribute and served as the primary backup for the main network.
The next major missions represented are Mariner VI and VII, the first dual mission to Mars, in which the two probes studied the surface and atmosphere. Beight has kept a printed booklet of photos, daily status bulletins, and two silver gelatine prints showing the surface of the planet, with dittoed text on the backs. Beight was probably involved with Mariner VI and VII, and it’s clear that she was directly involved with Mariner VIII in 1971, as she has received two photocopied letters from mission manager Dan Schneiderman, one congratulating the team on a “highly successful Mars Orbit Insertion and Orbit Trim Maneuver” (in other words, positioning the satellite in the correct orbit), the second explaining that after the end of a global dust storm the satellite is beginning its mapping and “during the remainder of our mission, lithos of the most noteworth pictures will be forwarded to you on a periodic basis”. These are presumably the 27 photographic prints depicting the surface of the planet included here. There are also three photographs, a silver gelatine print of the control room with dittoed text on the back, and two colour photos of the launch without text, daily status updates, a DSN newsletter discussing the Mars antenna, and some booklets and colour illustrations produced for the public.
In 1972 the first probe to Jupiter, Pioneer 10, was launched, and the archive contains a colour photo titled “Historic photograph taken from NASA’s Pioneer 10 spacecraft, showing the red Spot and Cloud Structure of Jupiter, plus the shadow of its Moon Io”, taken on December 1st, 1973. Two photos are included depicting Jupiter as seen from Pioneer 11, including a close-up of the Red Spot. All three of these images seem to have been produced for internal consumption, particularly the final two, which included technical data in the print.
Next Viking I and II, launched in 1975, became the first probes to land on Mars. This is another program that Beight was clearly involved with, as she has received three certificates of achievement, a congratulatory printed letter from manager Henry W. Norris, ”In spite of the challenges, you have performed in an exemplary manner and two beautiful Viking Orbiters are on their way to Mars, flying with very few concerns”, as well as one from the heads of the Mission Control and Computer Center, in which they extend their appreciation for “your efforts in making the Data Systems Division 91 contributions to the Viking Project such as success”. Included with these letters are 17 colour and black and white photographic prints of the Martian surface, including the “first panoramic view by Viking 1 from the surface of Mars”, dated July 20, 1976. Together with two status bulletins, a photocopied Christmas message from Bruce Murray, a commemorative statement by the Viking scientists, mission stickers, and a published booklet of technical information about Viking. Most interestingly, there is a small black and white Polaroid snapshot of the control room, probably taken with a personal camera.
The Voyager I and II probes were launched in 1977 to explore the outer solar system, in particular Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, and then continue into interstellar space. Both are still operational, with Voyager I having travelled further than any other manmade object. Beight received two congratulatory letters for her participation with Voyager, and her archive includes 61 colour and black and white prints from photographs of this mission, including the Titan rockets and a capsule before launch, one of the probes in the laboratory before encapsulation, the Golden record and a copy of the signature plates, and beautiful colour images taken by the probes, including shots of Jupiter, its Great Red Spot, and its ring and planets, including an enormous out-gassing from Io, and Saturn and its rings and planets. There are also four published booklets on Voyager.
Finally, there is material, including photographs, connected with the Infrared Astronomical Satellite, the first space telescope to perform a survey of the entire night sky at infrared wavelengths; SEASAT, the first satellite designed to monitor the Earth’s oceans, the Deep Space Network itself (a colour photograph depicting all four antennas), several copies of “Lab-Oratory” and other JPL staff newsletters, a metal plaque commemorating PlanetFest ‘81, and five original JPL mailing envelopes, many with Beight’s name.
...Compiled by a Female Control Room Mission Specialist. Comprising mission updates, photographs, employee newsletters, and souvenirs documenting JPL projects between 1965 and 1984, including Apollo, Mariner, Pioneer 10 & 11, Viking, Voyager, Skylab, SEASAT, and Galileo.
Pasadena, CA & Washington D. C.: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1965-1985.
Archive composed of 135 printed photos with printed explanatory text (between 20.3 x 25.4 cm and 21.6 x 28 cm); 13 silver gelatine and colour photographs on glossy photo stock, most with explanatory text on the versos (between 10 x 15.25 cm and 21.6 x 28 cm); 37 printed pamphlets, newsletters, bulletins & etc., most in quarto; 14 printed letters to staff from JPL directors Bruce Murray, Ray Heacock, and Lew Allen, with printed signatures; 1 photocopied ALS from Bruce Murray; PlanetFest ‘81 aluminum souvenir plaque (12.7 x 22.8 cm); and 5 original JPL mailing envelopes. The bulk of the archive newly housed in individual mylar sleeves in two blue ring binders with printed silver titles to the upper covers; three certificates and the mailing envelopes separately housed in archival sleeves. Occasional minor creasing and paper clip marks, but overall this is a very well preserved archive in superb condition.
Bowman, Martie | Calendar for 1936 depicting pilot Martie Bowman in her WACO INF biplane.
A remarkable piece of early aviation ephemera, this calendar was produced as a Christmas greeting by the early female aviator Marguerite (Martie) Bowman (1901-1985) and her husband Leslie, also a pilot. It depicts Bowman flying in her WACO INF biplane, registration number NC625Y, in formation with two others, and includes portraits of Bowman, her husband, and their daughter Larnie Bowman Allen. We have learned from one of the Bowmans’ grandchildren that Larnie joined the family profession, becoming a wing-walker at eight and soloing at twelve.
The Bowmans established an aviation business together and, during the 1920s, 30s and 40s, Martie Bowman ferried planes from factories and regularly participated in air races. She competed in the 1930 Women’s Dixie Air Derby from Washington D. C. to Chicago, and won the Women’s International Air Derby of 1934 and the two-day women’s championship Shell Trophy Cup at Long Beach, California. In her biography of fellow pilot Phoebie Omlie, Janann Sherman recounts that during the Dixie Derby Bowman selflessly assisted Omlie, who had an injury, by waking up each hour during the night to apply medicated drops to her eyes (Sherman, Walking on Air, p. 65).
The Bowman’s papers are held at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, and as of 2001 two of Martie Bowman’s planes were still registered as flight-worthy with the FAA.
[Olympia, WA], 1935.
Silver gelatin composite photograph (250 x 200 mm) with small tear-off monthly calendar for 1936. Inscribed “Merry Christmas, The Bowmans”. A few minor nicks and spots at the edges. Excellent, unused condition.
Max Rigo Selling Company | International Aviation Meet. Grant Park Chicago. Panoramic Post Card.
A striking, oversized panoramic postcard photomontage depicting one of the most important aviation events prior to the First World War, the August 1911 International Aviation Meet at Grant Park in Chicago.
The Chicago meet was the largest airshow held up to that time, only eight years after the first powered flight by the Wright Brothers. Over the course of nine days thirty-three amateur and professional aviators competed for cash prizes totalling just over $100,000, watched by an estimated 300,000 spectators. Lincoln Beachey, the world’s premiere stunt pilot, set a world altitude record of 11,642 feet and two pilots, William R. Badger and St. Croix Johnstone, died in crashes.
This postcard is a fantastical composite image depicting the airshow, incorporating photographs of the lakefront buildings, Grant Park, railway tracks, and crowd shots, and all merging into painted backdrops and “crowds”. Fourteen planes are visible in the sky, and while most are painted, a few may have originally have been photographs. Another three are depicted on the ground or taking off, surrounded by people. This copy of the card was posted by “Laurie” of 1859 Sedgwick St, which is adjacent to Lincoln Park on the north side of town, and the recipient was “Miss Florence Ort” of Defiance Ohio. Laurie has additionally annotated the image, labelling for her friend Michigan Avenue, the famous Blackstone Hotel, opened just two years previously, the Auditorium theatre, and the Art Institute of Chicago.
Chicago, IL: Max Rigo, 1911.
Folding panoramic postcard (290 x 195 mm). Professionally mounted, glazed, and framed using archival materials. Composite photographic image depicting the Chicago lakefront and early planes. The sender’s and receiver’s details filled out in black ink, and four landmarks noted on the image in the same hand. Marks from stamp, some toning and spotting of the verso, creasing and wear, particularly near the original folds (which are fragile) and at the corners and slightly affecting the image, small tape repair to one corner on the verso. Very good condition.
McLuhan, Marshall, & Quentin Fiore | The Medium is the Massage
First edition, first printing of this classic by the original prophet of the information age.
Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980) was a Canadian professor and literary critic who became one of the 20th century's most controversial media theorists. Expanding on his expertise in the history of early literature and printing, he argued that "the medium is the message" - that the physical form of a communication technology affects our reception of the messages it delivers. Thus, printed books, newspapers, radio, television, the telephone and, eventually, the internet, each affect individuals and society in different ways. While McLuhan was in some senses a technological determinist, believing that technology strongly disrupts and reshapes human culture, he tempered this with humanism, and advocated better research and education that would allow individuals to take control of how their lives were being influenced by the media. Today he is revered for his prescience regarding the digital revolution, and is seen by many as a pioneer of the philosophies of creative disruption and technological libertarianism that have so influenced the development of the modern internet and the world around it. The Medium is the Massage ("massage" was originally a typesetter's error that McLuhan liked and kept as the title) was published in 1967 as an illustrated introduction to McLuhan's philosophy for the general public. Though he had already published several books on his theories, including The Mechanical Bride and Culture is Our Business, they were somewhat academic, and it was the electrifying The Medium is the Massage that became a best-seller and cemented its author's reputation as one of the great thinkers of the 20th century.
...Co-ordinated by Jerome Agel. New York: Random House, 1967.
Tall quarto. Original black and white cloth, titles to spine in black and white, black endpapers, top edge dyed black. With the dust jacket. Black and white illustrations throughout. Cloth toned and with a few small spots on the upper cover. A very good copy in the price-clipped jacket that is lightly rubbed with some spotting, nicks, and a few short closed tears with old tape repairs on the verso.
Mead Cycle Company | Crusader Bicycles advertising booklet
An attractive, early 20th-century advertising booklet for Crusader Bicycles by the Mead Cycle Company of Chicago. It includes two wonderful chromolithographs, including a double page spread depicting the Advance Model Crusader de Luxe for $19.85 and the Crusader Coaster-Brake Special for $17.80. The upper cover advertises their policies, including free shipping, a free 30 day trial, and five year guarantee, and there are also ads for a variety of accessories. “What more do you want in a wheel? What greater assurance could you ask in buying a bicycle? We are putting our priceless reputation behind these two latest Crusader Models and behind the unqualified statement that when you buy one you are making the best bicycle selection and the wisest bicycle investment that anyone could possibly make”. Mead was one of Chicago’s first bicycle manufacturers, beginning operations in 1889 and selling nationally through mail order catalogues such as this one.
Chicago: the Hollister Press for the Mead Cycle Company, [early 20th-century].
12 page advertising booklet, stapled self-wraps. Colour and two-tone chromolithographs. 2 horizontal creases from folding, some spotting and dulling to the cover. Very good condition.
NASA Marshall Space Flight Center | Science in Orbit
First edition and a beautiful copy of this book celebrating the Space Shuttle’s scientific mission and laboratory capabilities, copiously illustrated in full colour. Among the topics covered in this technically advanced volume are studying the human body in space; materials and chemical processes in microgravity; observing the Sun; plasma physics in space; atmospheric science and Earth observations; and astronomy and astrophysics.
...The Shuttle & Spacelab Experience: 1981-1986. Washington D. C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1988.
Tall quarto. Original illustrated boards depicting the space shuttle, dark blue embossed endpapers. Colour illustrations throughout. Small area of residue where ownership ticket or small bookplate was removed from the front pastedown. Very light rubbing at the tips, pages faintly toned at the edges. Excellent condition.
NASA | From Here, Where? A Source Book in Space Oriented Mathematics
First edition and an excellent copy of this book of space-related mathematics for high school teachers.
This volume was published as part of NASA’s drive to incorporate space science into American curriculums during the Space Race. As Michael J. Vaccaro, chairman of the Committee on Space Science Oriented Mathematics, writes in the introduction, “Surrounded by a changing world, the teacher of today must relate new knowledge and new experiences to his students. However, there is a gap between teacher needs and available textbook material. This problem is particularly acute in the areas affected by our efforts in the scientific exploration of space due to the exponential growth of scientific and technical information. Until the results of this research can be incorporated into textbooks for classroom use, supplemental material must provide a partial solution to meeting these needs.” The contents begin with lesson plans on the Ptolemaic and Copernican systems, the solar system, and observing the stars and planets, and go on to cover basic rocketry, gravity and motion, navigation, and studying the weather from space.
...for Secondary Levels. Prepared from materials furnished by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in cooperation with the United States Office of education by a Committee on Space Science Oriented Mathematics. Washington D. C.: NASA and the US Office of Education, 1965.
Large octavo, 192 pages. Original green wrappers printed in black. Illustrations and diagrams throughout the text. Lightly rubbed at the extremities, spine toned. An excellent copy.
Pagé, Victor W. (ed.) | Henley's ABC of Gliding and Sailflying
First UK edition, originally published in the US in the previous year. An attractive copy and uncommon in the jacket.
The earliest successful glider was created by the British aeronautical designer Sir George Cayley and flown in 1853, initiating a wave of research into both unpowered and powered flight, and gliders had become relatively sophisticated by the time the Wright Brothers flew the first powered aircraft in 1903. It wasn’t until the 1920s, however, that gliding became an organised sport, making this an early popular guide for the beginner. Heavily illustrated, it contains information on the mechanics of flight; the different types of gliders, including powered gliders and water gliders; glider design and construction; and detailed chapters on key components such as brakes, control cables, fuselage, and wing frames.
London: Chapman & Hall, Ltd., 1931.
Duodecimo. Original blue cloth, title to spine gilt, publisher’s logo to upper bard in blind. With the dust jacket. Photographic frontispiece, illustrations throughout the text. Ownership inscription dated 1943 to the front free endpaper. Cloth very lightly rubbed at the extremities but otherwise bright and fresh, faint partial toning to the endpapers, faint spotting to the endpapers and edges of text block. An excellent copy in the rubbed and tanned jacket with some spots and marks and an over-price ticket to the spine panel.
War Manpower Commission | Women in the War—We Can't Win Without Them
An original Second World War poster promoting women in the wartime workforce, produced in 1942 by the War Manpower Commission. At the time, “Women in the War” was one of the most widely distributed images of a woman labouring in war production, unlike the “We Can Do It” poster, which was produced only for Westinghouse plants during a few weeks in 1943 and did not become iconic until the 1980s.
“Among the many agencies President Roosevelt had created during the war was the War Manpower Commission, formed in April 1942 to oversee war labor issues in the military, industrial, and civilian sectors. And in June 1942, the Office of War Information was formed to manage the flows of news and propaganda about the war to the public. By 1943, when the labor shortage was most acute, the two agencies worked together in concerted campaigns, targeting employers to hire women and women to become ‘production soldiers’” (Yellin, Our Mothers’ War, p. 44). Women labouring in factories, even in the service of the war effort, was controversial, with only 30 percent of husbands giving unqualified support to the idea of their wives performing such jobs. “Despite the tide of public opinion against working wives, War Manpower Commission director Paul McNutt had a strategy for quelling opposition: ‘The money appeal will continue strong,’ he said in 1943, but we’ll concentrate on patriotism’. Sure enough, all across the country, the public was bombarded with spirited print and radio ads, magazine articles, and posters with slogans like ‘Do the Job He Left Behind’ or ‘Women in the War—We Can’t Win Without Them’ depicting noble, pretty but serious, female war workers on the job... The campaigns glamorized war work, always showing that women could maintain their femininity and still be useful” (Yellin, pp. 45-46).
Examples of this important poster are held at numerous institutions, including the Library of Congress, Imperial War Museum, MOMA, and the Pritzker Military Museum. Copies in such beautiful, unused condition are uncommon in commerce.
Washington D.C.: US Govt. Printing Office, 1942.
Colour poster (28 x 40 in). Professionally mounted, framed and glazed using archival materials. Original creases from folding, else bright and fresh. Excellent condition. Professionally mounted, glazed and framed using archival materials.
War Office | Women's War Work
First and only edition of this uncommon and evocatively-illustrated publication on women’s contributions on the British home front during the First World War. This copy from the War Office Library, with its ink stamp on the title and upper cover.
Very quickly after the outbreak of the war it became clear that the mobilisation of the male workforce would create shortages of munitions, equipment, and food, and that large numbers of women would need to move into jobs from which they were previously restricted. Despite the hesitance of some officials, factory managers, and trade unions, “reports were conducted early on as to the suitability of women to meet the demands of such work. As early as 1915 the Ministry of Munitions Supply Committee made recommendations on the employment and remuneration of women on munitions work. This helped contribute to agreed suitable conditions by which a woman could be employed, and the War Office published several guides as to the employment of women” (”The Munitionettes and the Work of Women in the First World War”, National Records of Scotland).
Women’s War Work was one of these publications, appearing in 1916 and providing a very detailed list of roles in which women had been “successfully in the temporary replacement of men”, not only in munitions, but also the production of everyday goods such as chemicals and fertiliser, soap, candles, clothing and textiles, food and drink, and paper goods, including printing and book binding. The lists are accompanied by contact details of officials who can assist in the recruitment of women, and by an exceptional 72 large photographs of women at work. One woman is pictured modelling artificial teeth in wax for dentistry; brewery employees roll barrels and clean out vats; wagon washers pose with buckets and brushes in the middle of their messy shift; a smiling woman “stokes the furnaces of a large factory in South London”; an agricultural worker with the Women’s Volunteer Reserve sharpens the blade of a sickle, pianos are tuned, and women are photographed serving as butchers, bakers, window washers, porters, drivers, and posties. Numerous roles within heavy industry are photographed, from the manufacture of ammunition to the production of glass, radiators, tanned leather, and motorcycles. This is a fantastic record of women as home front workers, with most of the images so far having seen little to no reproduction in popular culture.
...In Maintaining the Industries & Export Trade of the United Kingdom. Information Officially Compiled for the Use of Recruiting Officers, Military Representatives and Tribunals. Issued by the War Office, September 1916. London: Printed under the Authority of His Majesty’s Stationery Office by the Chiswick Press, 1916.
Tall quarto. Original grey wrappers printed in black. 20 leaves of glossy paper with integral page numbering, 3 pages of which are text-only and one blank, the rest comprising 72 black and white photographs. War office Library ink stamps to the upper wrapper and title, small blue ink mark to the upper wrapper partially bracketing “War office” in the imprint, spot from sticker removal affecting the tail of the spine and edges of the wrappers. Loss from the spine, which has been strengthened with adhesive at some point in the past. A little light creasing and rubbing at the other edges of the wrappers. Contents clean. A very good copy.
[Embrace the Base] Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp Invite Women to Take Part in an International Action
A rare poster advertising Embrace the Base, one of the key mass actions at the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp. We have been able to locate only two copies in institutional collections, at the LSE Women’s Library and the Glasgow Women’s Library.
The Greenham Common protest was established in September of 1981 by the Welsh group Women for Life on Earth, who were opposed to the deployment of nuclear tipped cruise missiles at the site. What was initially planned as a single march became a permanent protest camp, one of the most significant and longest lasting women’s protests of the 20th century. In February 1982, for political reasons, the camp was made women only, and the following month they engaged in their first blockade of the base. Embrace the Base was their next major action. Taking place on December 12th & 13th, 1982, it saw 30,000 women from across from across the UK—drawn by chain letter, word of mouth, and posters such as this one—join hands to surround the nine mile perimeter fence. This copy of the poster seems to have been used in Birmingham, and includes instructions for obtaining coach tickets at the “Peace Centre (opp New Street Station)”, as well as local activist contact details, in marker pen.
As well as being an early and rare example of Greenham Common ephemera, this poster is particularly interesting in that is features a spider web, “a frequently reoccurring symbol in Greenham women’s cultural imaginary” because of its mythological and symbolic associations. “The metaphor of ‘building a web’ and being connected to each other in a ‘web-like structure’ populated Greenham women’s speech and writing. Alison Young describes Greenham women’s reclamation of the spider as revolving primarily around the notion of the spider’s web. She writes that the web ‘shows connections between women or between ideas; it can be begun at any point or at any time; each single strand is weak and fragile, yet when interwoven it is strong, beautiful and efficient’ (1990, 38). In line with Young’s reading, Roseneil writes that, ‘the web was a symbol of women's collective power, seemingly fragile, but actually very strong’” (1999, 179, ft39)” (Feigenbaum, Tactics and Technology: Cultural Resistance at the Greenham Women’s Peace Camp, PhD thesis, McGill University, April 2008).
The Greenham Common camp had no hierarchy, and its nature was defined by the thousands of individual women who visited when they could or lived permanently onsite for years. The activists engaged in non-violent resistance by disrupting movement in and out of the gates, cutting down portions of the fence, and trespassing on military property, and they endured frequent police raids, arrests, and evictions. A large number of the protesters were middle aged and older; they considered themselves ordinary mothers and working women, and made a point of the fact were opposed to nuclear weapons for deeply personal reasons. Their gender was crucial to their message: “a woman’s place was not in the home, but at a protest. Women could use their identity as carers and mothers to say, this is about the future safety of our children. We weaponised traditional notions of femininity” (Suzanne Moore, “How the Greenham Common Protest Changed Lives, The Guardian, March 20th, 2017).
“Greenham was powerful. It taught my generation about collective action, about protest as spectacle, a way of life, incredibly hard but sometimes joyous. Still the image of resistance for me is not the famous photograph of a striking miner confronting a policeman at Orgreave, it is the picture of Greenham women dancing in 1982: witchy, unarmed women dancing on a missile silo. This magical, powerful image shows how the peace camp both played on traditional images of the feminine and then subverted them. Greenham created an alternative world of unstoppable women. It changed lives.” (Moore, 2017).
...to Stop the Siting of Cruise Missiles Anywhere in Europe. December 12th & 13th. Embrace the Base on Sunday. Close the Base on Monday.
Mechanically printed poster (420mm x 580mm). Professionally mounted, framed and glazed using archival materials. White text and illustration of a missile caught in a spider’s web superimposed over a grey and red photograph of the mushroom cloud over Nagasaki. Marker pen notes at the bottom of the poster give contact details and instructions for travelling to the camp by bus from Birmingham. Vertical and horizontal creases from folding, a little light rubbing. Very good condition.