Object Lessons is a series of short, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things.
For as long as people have traveled to distant lands, they have brought home objects to certify the journey. More than mere merchandise, these travel souvenirs take on a personal and cultural meaning that goes beyond the object itself. Drawing on several millennia of examples-from the relic-driven quests of early Christians, to the mass-produced tchotchkes that line the shelves of a Disney gift shop-travel writer Rolf Potts delves into a complicated history that explores issues of authenticity, cultural obligation, market forces, human suffering, and self-presentation. Souvenirs are shown for what they really are: not just objects, but personalized forms of folk storytelling that enable people to make sense of the world and their place in it.'
Object Lessons is published in partnership with an essay series in The Atlantic.
Souvenir features illustrations by Cedar Van Tassel