developed from an interest in the evolution of
bookbinding design as applied to publishers' editions. It features
representative examples of work by more than 80 artists who were active
during the "golden age" of commercial cover design. The catalog essays
approach the various design paradigms from their aesthetic influences
and social contexts.
printed edition of the catalog is divided into several sections on influences and trends in cover design, with
more detailed descriptions of the books than you see in the checklist.
These sections identify pictorial, figurative, and decorative
motifs, and show how they were approached by different designers. There are 16 sections, including The Oriental Influence,
The Motor Car Hits the Cover (Cover Designs of
Automobiles Before 1911), Trees and the Picture Plane (After Will Bradley's In Russet and
Silver, 1894), On and Under Water, Travel Books, and other subjects.
Edition and a Limited Edition are available. Each book comes with a
CD-ROM that has a complete illustrated checklist of the collection in
html format that you can read onscreen with any web browser, a data file
that you can open in any database or spreadsheet program in case you
want to sort or search the information, and a PDF of the entire Deluxe
Edition that you can read onscreen and zoom in on pictures. A sample
two-page spread reduced in resolution for faster download, is here
(1MB pdf). The CD-ROM is also available by itself.
are examples of different editions of the same title, often
published simultaneously under different imprints, with different
covers. Other editions were released by a publisher with several bindings
at different price points, and for different
subscription sales used sample books with some of the content
of the edition, with a choice of cover designs that often included plain
or elaborately stamped cloth or leather to harmonize with any home
library or budget.
bibliography of the resources used to build this collection is in
the catalog, including the works of Sue Allen, Charles Gullans and John
Espey, Jean Peters; Trade Bindings Research Newsletter; publications and
exhibition catalogs of The Grolier Club.
here to see a two-page sample from the catalog (1 MB pdf)
Deluxe Edition limited to 25 signed and numbered copies printed in
archival high resolution inkjet, in a foil stamped cloth
binding by Richard
Minsky, adapted from a cover design in this
collection. There is a printed
version of the checklist with images of all the books in the collection
that were not reproduced in the text. The CD-ROM version of the
catalog is included, mounted in a recess in the back cover.
Limited Edition with the
same text as the Deluxe Edition in a slightly smaller format, with a
foil-stamped paper cover and a printed paper wrapper, in an edition
of 100 signed and numbered copies, with about 250 color pictures in the
text sections and a hundred or so additional images in the checklist.
The CD-ROM is included in a separate
CD-ROM with all
the text and images of the Deluxe Edition in pdf format and a database including
separate fields for title, author, publisher, date, designer, description of
binding, variants, and images from scans or digital photographs of all the books in
the collection. The discs used are MAM-A Gold Archive, which claims a
200+ year durability. A browser-viewable version of the checklist with
small images is also on the disk.
Click here to see the
installation views of these books in the gallery, with the list of
artists identified as cover designers.
checklist below is is provided solely as an example to give a sense of this collection. It is not the complete checklist. Some items
in this list have been removed, about 300 others have been added.
The exhibition featured about 100 bindings. The collection includes
500 designs. About 200 books are "reference copies" of
designs that are are important for study and comparison, but are in less than
condition. They provide examples of variant editions and additional
examples of particular designers' works. Sometimes they are the only
copy or best available copy of a particular design that we would like to
have a better example of, and have placed on want lists. Cataloging and
photographing these copies also may assist curators, collectors and dealers
in identifying books suitable for their collections, or identifying
designers of books currently in hand, and be a useful
resource for scholars.
Please use the
contact form or telephone if you have further
The photos in the checklist are included primarily for identifying the bindings.
The colors will appear different on different monitors, as well as the
effects of different lighting angles, or whether the image was shot with
a camera or scanned, and the different reflective characteristics
of gold and colored stamping foils used on the covers.
Abbot, Willis, illustrated by W.C.Jackson and H.W.McVickar. Blue Jackets Of
'76. New York, Dodd, Mead, 1888. Three different bindings on the
same edition. One has gold stamping on blue cloth and cream
canvas/buckram, with the cream cloth representing a sail, with the
rigging in gold, and the title in "rope" style. The other two
have a pictorial of a sailing ship firing cannons, with a brown mast on
the spine and the title on the spine in gold. One on tan cloth is
stamped in brown, black, white, and gray. The other is on blue cloth,
with the brown darker and redder, and the white in the sails is stamped
in the the area that is gray on the tan cloth, with no gray stamping.
The stamping on the tan variant was also used on ivory cloth, an example
of which can be seen in the beautiful catalog of The Grolier Club's 2000
exhibition, The Art of Publishers' Bookbindings 1815-1915, from
the collection of Ellen K. Morris and Edward S. Levin.
Albertson, Charles C. Light on the Hills. Lippincott, 1905.
Alden,W L. The Moral Pirates. Harper's Young People's Series. Harper, 1922 [DD]
Allen, James Lane. The Reign of Law. Macmillan, 1900.
Arnold, Edwin, Sir. ADZUMA or the Japanese Wife. Scribners 1893. (Margaret Armstrong).(2 versions: white, gold and dark green stamping on light green cloth, and on white cloth (the white cloth version has soiling to the cloth).
Keeping Up With Lizzie. Illus. W.H.D. Koerner. New York, Grosset &
Dunlap, 1911, above left. Signed with unidentified "A", see enlarged
detail above. Above right is Harper & Brothers 1911 edition, green cloth with white lettering, red car,
black window & gent. The collection includes a dozen volumes issued
before 1911 with images of automobiles on the
Babcock, William Henry. The Tower Of Wye. Philadelphia: Henry T. Coates, 1901. [signed VD]
Bangs, John Kendrick.
Mr. Bonaparte of Corsica. drawings by H. W. McVickar. New York, Harper
and Brothers, 1895 (reference copy). [unsigned, probably H. W. McVickar].
Barclay, Florence L., Illustrated by F. H. Townsend. The Mistress of Shenstone. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. [MA, same binding as
Barclay, Florence L. The Rosary. In the same MA binding as Mistress of Shenstone.
Reproduced full page in Gullans and Espey, "American Trade Bindings and their Designers," Collectible Books: Some New Paths, Jean Peters, ed. R.R. Bowker, 1979, p. 42, plate 1.
Barr, Amelia. The Man Between. Author and Newspaper Association, 1906 [Harry B. Matthews]
Barr, Robert. The Unchanging East. Boston: L.C. Page, 1900. Two copies of volume 2 only, with the same design, one on white cloth, one on green. [signed AB, Alfred Brennan]
Barrie, J. M. Tommy and Grizel. Charles Scribner's Sons. 1900. [MA]
Bingham, D. The Bastille. James Pott, 1901. New York,
James Pott and Company, 1901. In blue cloth
dj's with the same spine design. [ MA]
Blindloss, Harold. Thrice Armed. New York Frederick A. Stokes
Company, 1908. [signed GWH, George W. Hood]
Boisgobey, Fortune du. An Ocean Knight. Frederick Warne &
Bonner, Geraldine. Rich Men's Children. Illus. C.M. Relyea.
Indianapolis, The Bobbs-Merrill Company, October, 1906. [Rome K.
Both, Armand (illus.) The Half-Smart Set. New York, Frederick A. Stokes
Company, April, 1908.
Boughton, George H., Illustrated by George H. Boughton & Edwin A. Abbey.
Sketching Rambles in Holland. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1885. [Edwin A. Abbey]
Bouvet, Marguerite, Illustrated by Helen and Margaret Armstrong. Sweet
William. Chicago: A.C.Mcclurg & Co, 1890. [MA]
Brady, Cyrus, Illustrated by Will Crawford. Hohenzollern: A Story of the Time of Frederick Barbarossa. The Century Company, 1902. [Lee Thayer-DD]
Brown, Alice. Country Neighbors. Houghton Mifflin 1910.
Browning, Robert (Margaret Armstrong illus). Pippa Passes. Dodd, Mead, 1900. [MA]
Bunner, H.C. Jersey Street and Jersey Lane. Scribner,1896. [MA]
Burns, W.J. and Ostrander, I. The Crevice. Grosset & Dunlap 1915.
Byron. Childe Harold's Pilgrimage. NY, H. M. Caldewll, n.d.
C. S. C. [Calverley, Charles Stuart]. Fly Leaves. With additions from the author's earlier volume of "Verses and Translations." 3rd Edition; with a New Poem NY: Henry Holt (Leisure Hour Series), 1872 (but the new poem is dated 1873).
Cable, George W.; Illustrated by Stanley M. Arthurs. Posson Jone and Pere Raphael
.New York, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1909. [MA]
Cable, George Washington. Bylow Hill. NY: Scribner's, 1902. [MA]
Carleton, Will. Farm Ballads. New York, Harper, 1873
Carleton, Will. Farm Festivals. New York, Harper, 1882.
Carleton, Will. City Ballads. New York, Harper, 1886
Catlin, Henry G. Yellow Pine Basin. Boston (MA): Small Maynard and Co. 1898.
[signed with hard to read initials, BAA?]
Charles C. Albertson. Light on the Hills. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1904 [signed H]
Connor, Ralph. The Sky Pilot. Revell, 1899 [Frank Hazenplug]
Cook, Dr. Frederick A. Discovery of the North Pole. Used salesman's sample book and a copy of the edition.
Cook, Joel. Switzerland
Picturesque and Descriptive. The John C. Winston Co. (The
International Press), 1904. Gold samped red cloth in red cloth dust
jacket and slipcase. [unsigned, The Decorative Designers]
Crane, Laura Dent. The Automobile Girls Along the Hudson.
Philadelphia, Henry Altemus Company, 1910.
Crawford, F. Marion. Cecilia. New York: The MacMillan Company, 1902.
Crawford, F. Marion. A Rose of Yesterday [George Wharton Edwards]
Crockett, S.R. The Firebrand. New York: McClure, Phillips & Co. 1901.
Davis, Norah. The World's Warrant. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1907.
Deland, Margaret. An Encore. Harper 1907. In glassine dj and box (box broken).
Deland, Margaret. Ill. Charles Dana Gibson. Partners. New York & London. Harpers, 1913. In monochrome
to checklist page 2
view the online exhibition preview of
American Decorated Publishers' Bindings, 1872-1929
to the Catalog
All descriptions and photos in this catalog
©2003-2006 Richard Minsky