• Covers and Endpapers display
    Covers and Endpapers display
    Theresa Zelasko
  • Detail
    Detail
    Theresa Zelasko
  • Detail
    Detail
    Theresa Zelasko
  • Detail
    Detail
    Theresa Zelasko
  • Marbled cover.
    Marbled cover.
  • Marbled cover, detail.
    Marbled cover, detail.

On display, now through October 5, are examples of various publishers’ bindings from Smith Library Center’s Main collection. Marbled covers and endpapers, embossing, and dyed cloth covers show a progression of artistic and commercial expression in the book publishing industry from the mid 1800s to the early 1900s. 

 

In the mid 1800s, American and English book publishers started publishing books with cloth covers. An English binder made cloth covers a commercially-viable alternative to leather and paper bindings. These cloth bindings were soaked in a sizing agent, which made the cloth impervious to the glue used in binding, and it took dye evenly, allowing for colorful decoration.*

 

These books may be very old, but their color and uniqueness make them fascinating objects, in addition to containing literary, historical, or geographic content. 

 

*Source: https://rbscp.lib.rochester.edu/3352

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