The Lister List

The books of Robert Harbin

On 3rd November Lukas-Fabian Moser recommended a beginner to start with a book by Robert Harbin, but didn't know whether any of his books were still available.

On 5th November, Bruce Lewisohn also mentioned his old copy of Robert Harbin's "Teach Yourself Origami" which was published over 30 years ago. He said he thought that it was Harbin's first publication.

The following is a short summary of books written by Robnert Harbin about paperfolding.

Robert Harbin's first paperfolding book was, in fact, "Paper Magic" which was published by the OldbourneBool Company, a division of Express Newspapers Limited, of London, in 1956. A paper-backed edition ws published by J.Maxfield Limited for many years, but appears to have gone out-of-print only in the past two or three years.

Harbin's second book was "Secrets of Origami", originally published in 1963 by the Oldbourne Book Company. It was reprinted in another hard-backed edition by Octopus Books in 1971, but was for long out-of-print. A new paper-backed edition was published by Dover Books Inc. of New York in 1997. This has corrections to the instructions and a new Introduction and new Preface. It is still readily available available.

Harbin's "Origami, Step-by-Step" was published in a hard-caked edition by the Hamlyn Publishing Group in 1974. It is notable for including many of Patricia Crawford's models. Dover Books Inc. have also recently republished this book in a paper-backed edition and it, too, is readily available.

"Teach Yourself Origami, the Art of Paperfolding" was originally published as a hard-backed edition by The English Universities Press, a division of Hodder and Stoughton Limited in 1968. A paper-backed edition under the name "Origami, The Art of Paperfolding" was published by Hodder Paperbacks in 1968. The following year the title was changed to "Origami 1" and the book is best-known under that title.

"Origami 1" was followed by "Origami 2", "Origami 3", and "Origami 4", all of them issued in paper-back by Hodder Paperbacks. "Origami 4" was published in 1977. Soon after is was published, Hodder and Stoughton were taken over and with change of policy the whole series was discontinued. Consequently, few copies of "Origami 4" were ever sold and it is now eagerly sought after by collectors. "Origami 3" is also quite difficult to obtain second-hand.

In 1980, Hodder and Stoughton reissued "Origami 1" , still as a paper-back, in their Teach Yourself Series, with a new historical intoduction. It remains in print today. Unfortunately the other three books in the series have not been reprinted in Great Britain.

"Origami 1" and "Origami 2" were reprinted as paper-backs in the United States. "Origami "! is now published in the United States by Harper Perennial, with the new historical introduction. It goes under the title: "Origami, The Art of Paperfolding". "Origami 2" was published in the United States by Barnes and Noble Books, a division of Harper and Row in 1982 with the title "New Adventures in Origami". I do not know whether it is still in print. So far as I know, "Origami 3" and "Origami 4" have never been published in the United States.

A hard-backed edition of "Origami 1" with coloured plates was issued in 1973 under the title "Illustrated Teach Yourself Origami" by Brockhampton Press, another division of Hodder and Stoughton

Various numbers of the series have been published in French (in Canada), in German, in Italian and in Hebrew and perhaps in other languages. Two shortened booklets were published in Swedish. Some of the foreign-language editions may still be available. I believe this is true of all four books in Hebrew. I understand that "Origami 4" in this series is slighly shortened, but this is one way of obtaining a copy of the coveted "Origami 4". Needless to say, a knowledge of Hebrew is not necessary to follow the diagrams.

The only other book by Robert Harbin solely devoted to paperfolding was "Have Fun with Origami", published in both hard-backed and paper-backed editions in 1975 by Severn House Publishers Ltd. in conjuncion with Independent Televeision Books Ltd. It contains many simple models sent in to Robert Harbin in the course of his origami series on the Independent Television "Look-In" programmes for children

Robert Harbin also wrote one or two other books either solely about paperfolding or containing paperfolding, but the above are the main books for the serious paperfolder. His "Paper Folding Fun" (Oldbourne, 1960), despite its title, disappointingly contains very little paperfolding, but is a book of paper tricks and puzzles and paper-cutting. "Party Lines" (Oldbourne, 1963) is another collection of tricks and puzzles or a more general kind and not confined to paper. However, it contains a short section on origami with eight models and also sections on Handkerchief Tricks and Napkin-Folding.

Robert Harbin wrote other books, mainly devoted to conjuring, which was his own profession, but they do not contain paperfolding.

If anyone has any further information about books containing paperfolding by Robert harbin, I should be very pleased to hear form him or her.

David Lister Grimsby, England.

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