The Artillery Manual Coloring Book?

A few weeks ago, I sat in the reading room at The Huntington Library combing through old books on artillery. I’d been through Hunt’s tome on an earlier visit and had started perusing an 1850 manual of similar content, when I made a surprising discovery.

Somebody, a long time ago, used a few of the artillery sketch diagrams for coloring pages! Take a look…

Of course, we don’t know who boldly defaced this volume or even when. The artist did not bother to date or sign the original work. Could it have been a bored student at a military academy? Could it have been the child of an artillery officer? The scenarios and possibilities are endless, though the proof of the deed is tangible.

The morals of these musings:

  1. Thou never knowst what thou shalt find in historic volumes
  2. Color not in thy books, lest future historians wonder exceedingly at circumstances which drove thee to deface a book
  3. If thou must color or write in thy books, do it neatly and make it an amateur work of art to brighten someone’s day with a mixed combination of horror and delight!

P.S. If someone would like to produce a real coloring book from some of the illustrations in these artillery manuals, I really want a copy for Christmas!

5 Responses to The Artillery Manual Coloring Book?

  1. Children go through a “testing phase” early in their lives, called, “The Terrible Twos.” Why is this relevant to the story? My memory of research and study while raising my daughter includes an afternoon when I was preparing lunch, and I noticed my nearly 3-year old daughter was not in the adjacent room playing with her toys… and it was REAL quiet. I turned off the stove, shuffled down the hall, and there was my daughter, big smile on her face, drawing inside my prized references on Abraham Lincoln. Holy Smokes was I surprised… and mad… But somehow, I kept my cool, redirected my “testing” daughter back to the kitchen and had lunch. And made sure I kept the office door locked for the next couple of years. [My daughter is now a budding historian, expressing interest in Australian Military history.] And I actually value those “defaced” reference works more, with my daughter’s scribblings inside…
    Thanks for sparking the memory.

  2. Thanks for posting this. Since we now “colorize” photographs, it looks like somebody may have been ahead of the curve. I have little doubt that Brother Hunt would have strenuously objected to the artist’s choice of colors, however.

  3. Love your “rules”, haha! I’d be tempted to hunt down the ownership records of the book. I think some archive places that rely on donations have a list of who had donated certain pieces.

    1. That would be fun! I’ll have to keep it in mind when I’m corresponding with the librarians.

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