In the summer of 1999 I was working at a publishing company, spending days flipping through their image archive to come up with ideas for a children’s picture dictionary. At one point, I submitted a picture of myself, swiftly dismissed on the grounds of “bad skin.”

Pictorial Webster’s: A Visual Dictionary of Curiosities doesn’t suffer that fate. Rather than work with a spotty faced youth, the book employs historic engravings from Webster’s Dictionaries of the 19th-century. The result is a fine reference point for artists, designers, and the generally curious.

Available now from Amazon.

A few pages from Pictorial Webster’s after the jump.

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