Hough's Encyclopaedia of American Woods
Harrar, S. Elwood. Ed. Hough's Encyclopaedia of American Woods.
New York: R. Speller, 1957. 16 volumes.
Call Number: (SPL) SD 536 .H832
Special Collections, Golda Meir Library.
This year (2000) I was introduced to a very unusual book in UWM's Special Collections. As a person who has been working with wood, I found this book very intriguing. Printed in 1957, Hough's Encyclopaedia of American Woods by E. S. Harrar, Ph.D., is a sixteen-volume set presenting actual samples of woods. Each page contains three different paper-thin slices of different trees in transverse section, radial section, and tangential section cuts. When I opened the first volume I was amazed by the lace-like, thin-cut wood sheets. To me the book was representing the beauty as well as the fragility of nature. Since I was just getting into the experimentation of veneer in my work, this book felt particularly close to me. I was also intrigued by the beauty of the pattern on the surface of each sheet.