Monday, July 17, 2017

The Lord's Prayer in 500 Languages



Closeup of one of the multi-alphabet pages. Contemporary reviews called the book a masterpiece of the typographer’s art.

An amazing book will leap off the shelf at me no matter how drab the binding. In fact, I look for temporary and homemade bindings because that’s how the treasures are disguised. While shelving in the Religion section at Wonder Book last month, I happened upon a worn and broken cover from an office-supply store that held browning photocopies of “The Lord’s Prayer in 500 Languages.” The book, printed in 1905, contains myriad languages and alphabets, faithfully reproduced. Immediately I knew it would become a wedding gift to a newly-married couple who will be translating the Scriptures into languages that don't yet have written alphabets. I downloaded the missing title page, prologue, and Table of Contents from Google’s digital archive. After recopying the pages onto better paper and trimming them, I bound them with Indian marble paper and a leather spine. The gift is now in the hands of newlyweds who love it and will make good use of it.

Browned photocopies, beat-up old binder--just what I like. Possibilities abound.


The box protects and complements the binding.

Leftover bits and pieces enhance the box cover.


Initial concept: new paper, deciding the trim size.