CRITIC'S CORNER: BREEN'S ENCYCLOPEDIA
In response to the call for comments on Walter Breen's
Encyclopedia, Researcher and author D. Wayne Johnson
"Most of my comments are about the illustrations:
(1) Placing illustrations beneath the descriptions was a
terrible mistake. Visually the stronger element should
be above with the descriptions below; as "art and
(2) The illustrations are not lined up, they bounce all
over the column; I would have preferred obverse and
reverse brought together in the exact center of the
column almost, but not quite touching.
(3) Breen gathered his photographs from many sources.
While he had to use what he got, the density of the
photos are more annoying than their haphazard placement
in the column width. Perhaps it was not possible to make
the photos more uniform density at the time of
publication. Now it is possible to do this via computer.
(4) The enlargements of the Patterns of 1792 (pages
156-157) was a great idea but could have been more
artistically treated. The if-it-won't-fit-in-a-column-
school of layout makes a very unattractive unbalanced
(5) "The Bibliography, Abbreviations, Typographic
Conventions" in the appendix was a real catchall. I
would have preferred separate charts. The use of the
equal sign in this section is somewhat disconcerting.
I greatly admire Walter's numbering system: serial
numbers from 1 up [7,343 items in numbers up to 8035,
with just enough open numbers for future issues]. It
was sheer genius to organize everything in one system
that is simple but very effective. Future additions
are possible without disturbing the existing numbers.
(7) I liked the Metrology section and the Inscription
Index, both in the front, and the Glossary and the two
separate indexes in the back. But the worst problem of
(8) My pages have separated from the binding. The
sections I have used most -- almost every page in the
back -- are loose and sticking out from the pages
still fastened to the spine. I have an autographed and
inscribed copy that I highly cherish (which now I
realize I should have set aside and used a second copy
for everyday use)."
A couple other subscribers had comments which we'll
save for next week.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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