Welcome to the Vintage Dinosaur Book Web Page


When I was a young boy I loved dinosaurs and I was fortunate to have two older sisters who
would borrow books on dinosaurs or prehistoric animals from the school library, and they
would bring them home and read them to me.  When I got older I would go to the library
and take them out myself, or go to a book store and buy them. 


Years later when I packed up to leave for college I threw away most of my juvenile-oriented
dinosaur books but kept the more advanced titles.  Many years later I realized that I missed
the old dinosaur books and over the past several years I have been scouring used book
stores and web sites that specialize in used books and have begun to rebuild my collection. 
I have also collected a number of really old dinosaur/prehistoric animal books that date
back to 1892.  Oh well, I guess I will always be a kid when it comes to dinosaurs!


One of the reasons I liked dinosaur books as a child was the illustrations.  I quickly figured
out that my favorite illustrations were those by Charles R. Knight.  Knight had a long and
productive career as an artist who specialized in painting and drawing wildlife, but he was most
notable for his reproductions of prehistoric animals.  His "paleoart" career ran from about the
mid-1890's to 1951 in which he produced paintings, murals, drawings, and models of
prehistoric animals for various natural history museums, including my all time favorite--the
American Museum of Natural History in New York City.  During his career, Knight worked
with some of the most prominent paleontologists of his day and much of his paleoart was
considered authoritative well into the 1960's.  Newer theories on dinosaur physiology and
mechanics have, unfortunately, rendered many of his dinosaur illustrations obsolete and
they are no longer considered scientifically current and correct.  Nevertheless, Knight's
work is often artistically stunning and can be found in many many books that date from
the late nineteen hundreds to present.  Further, over the years his illustrations have been
used as a basis for many other paleoartists to produce their own illustrations.


Other past "giants" of the paleoart world include the Czech artist Zdeněk Burian, whose
paleoart career spanned from the early 1930s to the early 1980s, and whose art--at least
in my opinion--comes closest to Knight's in terms of artistic skill and aesthetics.  Rudolf
F. Zallenger was another prominent paleoartist whose "The Age of Reptiles" mural for the
Yale Peabody museum won him the Pulitzer Award for Painting in 1949.  He also illustrated
a kid's book from 1960 called "The Giant Golden Book of Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric
Animals
" (text by Jane Werner Watson).  This was a very popular dinosaur book that was
reissued into the 1980's and I urge anyone who enjoys vintage dinosaur books to look for a
copy of this volume.  Finally, I need to mention the work of Neave Parker, who prepared
numerous illustrations of prehistoric animals (often in collaboration with the British
paleontologist W. E. Swinton) that were published in the Illustrated London News from
1951 to 1960 (see Debus and Debus), and that appeared in several books published in the
1960' and 1970's (for example, several books by Swinton).  Many of Parker's dinosaur
illustrations were very influential and often used as a basis for dinosaur restorations by
other paleoartists--particularly his illustrations of British and European genera.


So please click on the Index, below, and enjoy the brief descriptions and representative
illustrations of some of the many old dinosaur and prehistoric animal books in my collection. 
I focus on vintage dinosaur/prehistoric animal books dating from 1892 (Extinct Monsters
by the Rev. H. N. Hutchinson
) to about 1972 or so, and most of my comments pertain to the
artwork contained within.  I hope to add an old dinosaur/prehistoric animal book every few
weeks until I have all of my collection represented, so please come back periodically! If you
would like to get in touch, I can be reached at:

 email
Index of Vintage Dinosaur Books


Other sites displaying old dinosaur books or early images of dinosaurs and other prehistoric
animals.

Doubtboy (This is where I got the idea for my web page.)

normanfelchle's photostream  (This site displays Norman Felchle's collection of dinosaur
books and related items.  This is a really nice site.  You can also check out Norman's
artwork here: http://www.normanfelchle.com)

Other illustrations

Publications



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