Tower of Babel 1690

Engraving of the Tower of Babel from “Joodse Oudheden, ofte Voor-Bereidselen tot de Bybelsche Wysheid, en gebruik der heilige en kerkelijke historien” (Amsterdam: Wilhelmus Goeree, 1690). Likely engraved by J. Luyken (1642-1712).

Early grammars run the gamut from some of the most beautiful and interesting examples of design, typography, and printing, to some of the shoddiest (but still wonderful) productions imaginable. Adding to their appeal, many authors experimented with information design and the use of illustration to help convey grammatical concepts.

Many of our galleries will grow and change over time. Little by little, we hope to represent the rich diversity of history’s grammars. We also welcome your submissions and recommendations, so please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have something you think would be of interest to our readers.

Grammatical Diagrams & Illustrations

Buno 1651:  Masculina, Feminia, NeutraIllustrative Diagrams from Buno’s Latin Grammar 1651
Gallery of illustrative grammatical diagrams and folding tables from the first and only edition of Johann Buno’s Neue Lateinische Grammatica in Fabeln und Bildern (A New Latin Grammar in Stories and Illustrations).

Clark's Etymological Chart of the English Language c. 1847Miscellaneous Grammatical Digrams 1545 to 1892
A small but growing collection of miscellaneous diagrams and illustrations found in grammars. As patterns emerge (like trees and sentence diagrams), some will be removed and used to kickoff new galleries.

Erleichterte Griechische Grammatica 1731The Grammarian’s Tree Farm
This small image collection pays homage to the grammarians’ apparent fondness for trees. All found in grammars, many of trees pictured were designed to illustrate grammatical concepts. We’ve also come across a number of interesting non-grammatical species that we could not see leaving out.

York's Alligation of Sentences 1860A Parser’s Paradise: Sentence Diagrams 1839 to 1895
Sentence diagrams became a commonplace feature in English grammars by the mid to late 19th century, and even spawned a new genre— the parsing manual.

Featured Books

Cooking with Thomas Wadleigh HarveyCooking with Thomas Wadleigh Harvey 1880
Enjoy this sampling of grammatical and epicurean delights from a repurposed copy of Thomas Wadleigh Harvey’s Elementary Grammar and Composition (ca. 1880). Includes recipes for all your old favorites, as well as a few highly suspect medical remedies.

High Resolution Downloads (available by request)

Flower left behind in Anton Matatʻia Garagashean’s Gaghierēn kʻerakanutʻiwn ěst Ōlēntōrfi. (Constantinople: Tpagrutʻiwn H. Gavafean, 1887). Courtesy of a private collection (US01), feel free to share. 2560 x 1600, JPEG.


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