Thursday, August 25, 2011

Morton Smith's Grandfather Wrote a Book Called 'Illustrated Symbols and Emblems"

From 'the Dial' a journal from 1899 as well as the American Friend (i.e. written two years after the marriage of Smith's father and mother):

Illustrated Symbols and Emblems

By HJ SMITH, Designer in Stained Glass.

A Complete Manual of Sacred Symbolism. It contains one hundred magnificent full-page quarto plates, illustrating over three hundred and fifty symbols, each plate being accompanied by one or more pages of explanatory letter-press. The descriptions are comprehensive, but simple and terse, making it an invaluable working manual. An indispensable book for all architects, designers, and draughtsmen, and for workmen in the artistic, decorative, and high-class building.

The author, an eminent designer in stained glass, has been impressed with the fact that in art education of our day the subject of Symbolism seems to have been overlooked. " Very little direct instruction upon it seems to be given in the art schools, and graduates are left to learn at haphazard or to guess at the meaning of the symbols that are used so lavishly in our churches." The reason for this general neglect is to be found in the fact that the many works on the subject were written by and for the theologian and the archaeologist, ard are too abstruse to be used as works of popular reference.

Illustrated circular and sample pages sent on application.


Royal quarto, printed on extra heavy decile-edged paper, bound in illuminated art vellum, $5.00

TS Leach & Co., Publishers, 29 North Seventh Street PHILADELPHIA

H J Smith's book survives and is available through the miracle of Google Books for everyone to read. The link is here and one can immediately see that the grandson Mortie must have been inspired by his grandfather's interests. It is also worth noting that H J Smith's book was widely cited in contemporary literature even getting referenced in the New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledged edited by Philip Schaff.

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