The Manning people

(on our covers, that is)

At first, the cover illustrations of our books were all from the 1805 edition of Sylvain Marechal's four-volume compendium of regional dress customs. This book was published in Paris in 1788, one year before the French Revolution. Each illustration is colored by hand. Later, we began to use many other sources, always making sure they are historically authentic.

The colorful variety of regional dress habits reminds us vividly of how culturally apart the world's towns and regions were just two centuries ago. Isolated from each other, people spoke different dialects and languages. In the streets or the countryside, they were easy to place—sometimes with an error of no more than a dozen miles—just by their dress.

Dress codes have changed everywhere with time and the diversity by region, so rich at the time, has faded away. It is now hard to tell apart the inhabitants of different continents, let alone different towns or regions. That cultural diversity derived from isolation and we are now anything but isolated from each other.

So, we celebrate the inventiveness and initiative of today’s computer world with book covers based on the rich diversity of regional life of two centuries ago.