Edwin Burdette Tunis
“As a commercial artist I lacked the ‘snappy’ style beloved of advertising agents, but I could draw furniture, architecture, and historical stuff, so I made out well enough.”
Edwin Tunis was a well-known artist, illustrator, and muralist. His work has appeared at the Baltimore Museum of Art, Society of
American Etchers, National Academy of Design, and Victoria and Albert Museum. Colonial Living won the 1958 Thomas Alva Edison Foundation Children's Book Award. His other books include Colonial Living and Weapons, also available in paperback from Johns Hopkins.
Edwin Tunis authored many excellent books, including:
-Weapons: A Pictorial History covers the development of weapons from the sling up until just after WWII. The
easy-to-read text concentrates on revolutions in weapons or their use that defined a historical moment, and the
illustrations are beautiful and detailed.
-Wheels: This book covers ground transportation. If you don't know the difference between a cabriolet and a landau,
this book will explain that. It will also make clear that the coaches seen in varios "musketeer-era" movies are
actually more typical of 200 years later. Once again, beautifully illustrated.
- Oars, Sails, and Steam: Covers boats and ships. Good text, beautiful illustrations.
The best part of these books is that you can say "The count drives up in his coach" and then actually point to an
illustration of what a nobleman's coach of say 1600 would actually look like. The text is also pretty clear about what
the weaknesses of the various vehicles or weapons were. Quite a good resource, these books. They were out of print
for a while (I prize my hardcover "Wheels") but are once again available in
softcover--I ordered mine through alibris.com.
Edwin Tunis on Amazon
In Praise of Edwin Tunis by Don Brown
[I]n Oars, Sails and Steam, Edwin Tunis has produced a beautifully illustrated and skillfully written history of water transport from the
dugout to the aircraft carrier. He presents the most interesting and important types of boats and ships in chronological order, revealing
each advance that made navigation easier, faster, and more efficient. Every page in this delightful book becomes a new adventure in
the story of humanity's progress on traveling across the seas. The Egyptian sailboats that plied the waters of the Nile in 4700
b.c. give way to Phoenician warboats, Greek war galleys and Roman triremes, which in turn are surpassed by Norse long ships,
Mediterranean carracks, Elizabethan galleons, and British East Indiaman. The Steam Age is represented by John Fitch's 1787
Delaware River steamboat; the 1807 Clermont, which made five miles per hour against the current of the Hudson; and the Curaçao,
which in 1827 became the first ship to cross the Atlantic almost entirely under steam power. Graceful clipper ships, profitable whaling
barks, reliable tramp steamers, opulent steam liners, and deadly warships, from destroyers to submarines, round out Tunis's illustrated
In addition to his fine drawings of the vessels, Tunis includes a glossary of seagoing terms and detailed diagrams that take readers
below decks, up in the rigging, and alongside the gunners of the U.S.S. Raleigh. Remarkable for its clarity and accuracy, Oars, Sails
and Steam, first published in 1952, is a treasury for all those who are sailors at