Tag Benda

Benda Masks

W.T. Benda was a Polish American making masks in the 1920s and 1930s. He was as famous as mask makers get in his time or ours. His masks were in Hollywood movies, on Broadway and in magazines. He was also an illustrator and a graphic artist too, producing classic magazine covers for Collier’s, McCall’s, Ladies’ Home Journal, Good Housekeeping and many others. But as his career progressed he got deeper into mask making, eventually publishing a book that details some of his theories and his mask making process. It’s called “Masks.”


There are very few books available on the art of mask making, so I was fascinated when I heard of his. But it’s been out of print since it was published in 1944 and I couldn’t find much about it online except for a few low-res images and some Amazon resellers listing it for sixty bucks and more.

Public Library to the Rescue!

Imagine my surprise then when I found the book listed as available through interlibrary loan from the Lewis and Clark Public Library. Interlibrary loan is like the internet before the internet. I remember learning about it in middle school, back in the days before the internet was as awesome as it is now.

I put my middle school knowledge to the test. I ordered that bad boy. Waited four weeks for it to arrive and finally I had my hands on it. It’s a beautiful little brown book, 100 plus pages, lots of illustrations. And it’s funny.

But all this is beside the point. The point is, I scanned it in and put it online. Now it’s available for anyone to download.

Isn’t that Illegal?

I don’t know if it is. But if it is, it shouldn’t be. It’s a rare book full of relevant material out of print for decades. Why not share it? It’s the best kind of file sharing if you ask me.

MASKS – Benda.pdf (68.5 MB)

Here is is. You click that and you’ll be taken to MegaUpload. It looks kind of shady, I know, but it’s safe. I mean, it’s from New Zealand!

Enjoy that beautiful book.