Jesse James: A Rare Cabinet Photo Version His Famous Image Dressed as a Quantrill Guerilla. This classic image is on a mount from Mitchell of Kansas City, Missouri, and matches the other cabinet of Jesse found in the Zink collection. It was originally in ambrotype form, taken on July 10, 1864, at Platte City, Missouri, following Jesse’s first engagement with Quantrill. Note that Jesse was not left-handed, but the original ambrotype was a reversed image. Period ink identification reads “Jesse W. James at age 19. In uniform of Guerillas…”
Photo: David Flores
Smell is chemistry, and the chemistry of old books gives your cherished tomes their scent. As a book ages, the chemical compounds used—the glue, the paper, the ink–begin to break down. And, as they do, they release volatile compounds—the source of the smell. A common smell of old books, says the International League for Antiquarian Booksellers, is a hint of vanilla: “Lignin, which is present in all wood-based paper, is closely related to vanillin. As it breaks down, the lignin grants old books that faint vanilla scent.”
A study in 2009 looked into the smell of old books, finding that the complex scent was a mix of “hundreds of so-called volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released into the air from the paper,” says the Telegraph. Here’s how Matija Strlic, the lead scientist behind that study, described the smell of an old book:
A combination of grassy notes with a tang of acids and a hint of vanilla over an underlying mustiness, this unmistakable smell is as much a part of the book as its contents.Ed note: What makes rain smell so good?
John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) Venetian street.
Sargent did not like to be photographed, but here is a rare image of him sketching and puffing on a cigar. The photographer, his friend Sarah Choate Sears, drew subjects from the same aristocratic circles as Sargent did for his paintings.
John Singer Sargent, about 1890, Sarah Choate Sears, gelatin silver print. The J. Paul Getty Museum.