Geddes, (August); Porter, Donald, editors, 1945
“This was the first ‘instant’ book. On a Thursday morning in August 1945, a few days after the atomic bomb had been dropped on Hiroshima, Don Geddes called me up in Malba [NY], where we were spending the summer. He introduced himself, then, could I spare a week to go with him to Chicago, to make a book on the bomb, fee $500. ‘Fine.’ ‘Let me have a jacket sketch tomorrow morning. The artwork will be done while we’re in Chicago. We leave Friday night from Penn Station.’

“In the office of the Chicago Sun, owned, like Pocket Books, by Marshall Field, Don and his secretary put the manuscript together from many different sources: radio reports, newspapers, magazine articles, minister’s [sic] sermons; anything they could get hold of immediately, and sent it over to me in the composing room of the W.F. Hall Publishing Company. I worked it up for composition, proofread it, scaled the illustrations, and counted up how many pages we had. After Sunday’s sermons and editorials there was so much Don had to start cutting. We communicated by telephone (neither of us had left his office, for eating or sleeping), and the book began to take shape when Japan threw in the towel. The front page of the ‘Chicago Sun’ brought the news of COMPLETE VICTORY; I wanted to use it at the foot of the contents page but had neither retouching white nor a brush: a pair of scissors and a fountain pen had to do it. My telephone was the only open wire at night; now it began to ring. ‘Tomorrow is Victory Day, are we working?’ ‘In which department do you work?’ ‘The bindery.’ ‘We’re closed.’ Bang. Next call: ‘Are we working?’ ‘Which department?’ ‘Composing room.’ ‘Of course we work.’

“The book was off press on Friday, with us safely back in N.Y.”

The Atomic Age Opens