Smithsonian videos of old "animated" books

The Smithsonian Libraries created short videos demonstrating several "animated" books. Seen above is the Animated Circus Book from 1943. I'm also intrigued by Dean's New Book of Dissolving Views from 1860. It's a great idea to share these wonderful books through video but I wish the Smithsonian would have zoomed in closer and gone through all the pages. (Thanks, Musebrarian via Submitterator!)


  1. I was a photographer in the Army with Don Hurlbert in the mid 1980s, stationed at Ft. Shafter, Hawaii! Glad to see he’s doing something interesting now.

  2. Probably they didn’t page through the whole book for copyright reasons.

    What, didn’t you know the purpose of libraries was to keep books away from the public?

  3. These movable books hold enduring charm in their simplicity and ingenuity. It is wonderful that these may be viewed on line, though I warrant that true appreciation of such devices comes from the actual manipulation of the printed paper parts.

  4. I worked at the Smithsonian for a time, that fits with everything I know about their internal process. Trying hard but so caught up in the bureaucracy that the end result always suffers for it.

  5. Why go through all the hassle of recording a video of such a thing if you’re just going to make people squint at a tiny little image of it that doesn’t even fill 1/4 the viewing area on the video player?

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