Paris: Éditions Antoine Roche, 1932. First Edition, First Printing. Oblong 16mo (6 5/8 x 7 1/4 inches; 168 x 182 mm),  pages on heavy card stock in a stapled binding covered by a red band along the spine. A fabulous illustrated children's book by French photographer Emmanuel Sougez (1889-1972). The book presents each letter of the alphabet in both upper and lower case, a word that begins with each letter, and a black-and-white, full-page illustration on the opposite page. What's interesting here is the use of three languages -- English, French, and German -- for each word. For instance, for the letter "S," there's the word Soap in English, Savon in French, and Seife in German, accompanied by a photo of hands washing with soap. This is not Sougez's only photobook for kids. In 1931, French publisher Éditions Henri Jonquières issued Sougez's "Regarde! 24 photographies par E. Sougez." Sougez's daughter, Marie-Loup, wrote about her father's books in the April 1996 issue of "La Revue des livres pour enfants." She says (translating from the French): "These two books are obviously very close to each other in their design and in the desire to offer young readers an object of quality, attractive but serious and educational." Alphabet, she adds, "is a very beautiful 'object' of rationalist conception, very close to the spirit of Bauhaus publications." She also notes that the use of a trilingual format was uncommon at the time. (Page 73). Sougez's two books were among a number of photobooks for children in the early 1930s. "The great thing about children's photobooks from this period of high Modernism was that publishers gave photographers a freer rein than they might have had if illustrating adult books, where their audiences had much more rigid expectations of what they wanted to see." (Martin Parr and Gerry Badger, "The Photobook; A History," Volume 1, page 102). OCLC FirstSearch shows only four institutional holdings of this book: Biblothèque Nationale de France, the New York Public Library, Princeton University, and the Danish Union Catalogue and Danish National Bibliography. Copies of "Alphabet" are also scarce to the market. An important book in graphic design, imaginative in its use of a trilingual text and striking photos. SCARCE. Item #1980
CONDITION: Abrasions to edges of covers and spine, closed tears to top of spine, pages lightly toned. A Very Good copy of a scarce book.