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Popups - They're Not Just For Kids!

The Harold M. Goralnick Pop-up Book Collection - An Exhibition

Early 20th Century Pop-ups

Pop-ups—defined as 3-dimensional paper illustrations designed to self-erect with the turning of a page—became firmly established early in the twentieth century.  The term “pop-up” first appears in 1930.

Building on the legacy of book designers like Meggendorfer and Nister, pop-up features evolved from other “toy and movable book” elements: dioramas, lift-the-flap and mix-and-match constructions, and books with movable paper toys tucked into page pockets.  In early examples of pop-up books, the pop-ups are generally few in number (between one and four per book) and isolated from the text as separate two-page spreads.

By insinuating dynamic action into the reading process, however, they offered a heightened animated experience that echoed the parallel development of motion pictures and, eventually, television.

Kellogg’s Funny Jungleland Moving-Pictures.  Battle Creek, Mich.:  W.K. Kellogg, 1909.
This mix-and-match book, an attempt to animate the activity of reading as pop-ups soon would do, employs leaves cut into flaps to effect changeable combinations of heads, bodies, and feet for various animals.
The book was distributed by Kellogg as a corn flakes promotion, and many of the nursery rhymes have been adapted to include the phrase “Kellogg’s Corn Flakes.”
The Story of Jesus.  London:  Strand Publications, [ca. 1930].
Text by F. Lucy Rudston Brown; illustrations by Eileen M. Watts.
One of a series of “Bookano” books produced by S. Louis Giraud, who published affordable editions that featured richly colored pop-up scenes, which he patented as “Living Models.”
The Pop-up Mother Goose.  New York:  Blue Ribbon Books, 1934.
Harold B. Lentz, a contemporary of S. Louis Giraud, provided the illustrations and drew heavily from Giraud’s mechanics and designs in crafting numerous pop-up books that animated fairytales, nursery rhymes, and Disney stories.
Blue Ribbon Books was the first publisher to use the term “pop-up,” which it registered as a trade mark for its “Illustrated Pop-up Editions.”
Ginger and Brownie: A Magic Action Story.  Racine, Wis.:  Whitman Publishing Co., 1935.
Whitman Publishing patented their pop-up technology as “Magic Action Pictures,” although their constructions perform and appear virtually the same as those in Lentz’s Blue Ribbon Books.
Koko’s Circus.  New York:  Animated Book Co., 1942.
Illustrations by Hank Hart.
Volvelles (turning wheels), pull-tabs, and pop-ups all appear in this “animated” book.
The Jolly Jump-Ups Vacation Trip.  Springfield, Mass.:  McLoughlin Bros, 1942.
Illustrations by Geraldine Clyne.
Jolly Jump-Ups stories first appeared in 1939 and traced the idyllic “American family” through World War II into the post-war period.  Their exploits and experiences, from buying a new house to space travel, reflected the changing national mood.
In this work, published during wartime, patriotism plays a role—in addition to predictable venues (the seashore; camping; the Grand Canyon), the Jump-Ups make stops at the U.S. Naval Academy and West Point.
Old King Cole.  New York:  J.S. Pub. Co., [ca. 1945].
One of eight “favorite acts all in three-dimensional scenes,” all illustrated by Geraldine Clyne and sold as a boxed set with the title Mother Goose Playhouse.
Tom the Piper’s Son.  Cincinnati:  Artcraft Paper Products, [ca. 1955].
Illustrated by M. Smith. The publisher characterizes these pop-ups as “spring-ups.” The story recasts the nursery rhyme character as a singing cowboy.
Henny Penny Pop-up Story Book.  Chicago:  Whitehall Publishing, 1950.
By the end of World War II, the term “pop-up” was no longer protected by trade mark, and it was soon adopted by publishers everywhere to describe paper-engineered illustrated constructions that would self-erect when a page was turned.
Bible Stories from the Old Testament, in Pop-up Action Pictures.  London:  Publicity Products, 1953.
This paraphrase, by E. Joseph Dreany, was published simultaneously in this country by Maxton Publishers, as were other of Dreany’s pop-up books for children.
Cowboys in Pop-up Action Pictures.  New York:  Maxton Publishers, 1951.
By E. Joseph Dreany.
Indians in Pop-up Action Pictures.  London:  Publicity Products, 1951.
By E. Joseph Dreany.
Hopalong Cassidy and Lucky at the Double X Ranch.  Garden City, N.Y.:  Garden City Publishing, 1950.
Illustrated by Jack Crowe.
While nursery rhymes and other children’s stories were common subjects for pop-up illustration before World War II, the post-war years increasingly witnessed pop-up books both adapted from and promoting animated short features (especially those by the Walt Disney Co.), television programs, and motion pictures.
This book reflects the enormous popularity that the Hopalong Cassidy television series enjoyed in the early 1950s, which in turn had been an adaptation of an earlier motion picture series produced by Paramount Pictures beginning in the 1930s.
The Animals’ Merry Christmas.  New York:  Golden Press, 1950.
Stories by Kathryn Jackson; illustrated by Richard Scarry.
A single enormous pop-up sets the tone for this Giant Golden Book collection of stories and verses.
Long Live the Queen!  London:  Juvenile Productions, [ca. 1953].
“The Coronation Book with Realistic Pop-up Pictures.”
This souvenir keepsake takes the form of a children’s story, in which John and Anne come to London to witness the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.  Four pop-up views of London enliven the text.