|Although of limited informational utility, this 1973 set I lucked into a couple years ago is a wonderful time capsule.|
Yesterday a friend of mine was lamenting the fact that her son, who just turned 8, will never know what an encyclopedia is. As a tech refusenik and information professional, I feel her pain. Like the typewriter and the rotary telephone, the encyclopedia has become an object of ridicule, the kind of “single-use device” that 21st-century natives and their complicit forbears circle around like schoolyard bullies to point and laugh at, and if need be, exterminate. Not coincidentally, it also represents a departed age in which we still subscribed to the middle-class notion that trustworthy arbiters of truth existed--an “elitist” concept which we can no longer stomach in an era where it’s socially acceptable to throw a temper tantrum until somebody tells you what you want to hear.
Fortunately in my line of work, reminders of better days abound, at least for the time being--particularly in the spring and fall when our Friends of the Library organization holds its semi-annual used book sale. Not just a flea market of library remainders, analog treasures from far and wide perennially turn up at this event, as donations pour in year-round from the community's rooted-out closets and basements. Making space on the library's shelves and in our storage areas is the name of this game, and because of the sheer volume of material the Friends handle, as well as limited interest in certain volumes, many vintage books in mint condition are even given away.
These “Year Book” supplements to the World Book Encyclopedia, which I rescued from the freebie bins this week, are one such example. Over-40s of a certain background will recall these handsomely-bound, lavishly-illustrated annuals, which recapped the major events of the previous year in a condensed encyclopedia-style format, with special sections front and back highlighting important figures in the news and noteworthy trends in society. For reasons that should be obvious to the regular readers of this blog, it seemed particularly appropriate to share some highlights from the 1981 volume, which recall some of the more striking images of 1980.
|Talking of the arbiters of truth...|
|The arbiters of style, meanwhile, were enjoying a rare moment of sanity...|
|...as demonstrated by this beautifully-attired architecture student.|
|Nice girls loved club collars, cozy sweaters, and their dogs.|
|Even boomer moms decided they liked the preppy look, once the back-to-the-land thing didn't work out.|
|I never got to have a girlfriend who wore fair isle and oxfords, but I did get the Merlin game for Christmas that year.|
|Of course, the transition from the 70s to the 80s wasn't all fun and games. It had its share of disasters...|
|...but also a few miracles.|