B-10. Introduction to the History of Bookbinding - Advance Reading List
Please read—or at least look carefully at—some of the titles highlighted below before coming to Charlottesville, but don’t panic if you cannot easily obtain a particular title. The workbook will contain a more detailed bibliography. Some of these books can be difficult to locate: we recommend utilizing inter-library loan when possible.
Allen, Sue and Charles Gullans. Decorated cloth in America: Publishers’ Bindings, 1840–1910. [Los Angeles]: 1994. Although the book deals with no more than John Feely and his stamps (Allen) and the designs by Sarah Whitman and Frank Hazen, it is one of the more fundamental works on the history of the publisher’s binding in America.
Bennett, Stuart. Trade Bookbinding in the British Isles 1660–1800. New Castle & London: Oak Knoll Press, 2004. Not an easy book to read, but with basic information on the subject.
Foot, Mirjam J. The History of Bookbinding as a Mirror of Society. London: British Library, 1998. The 1997 Panizzi Lectures. Why we should study bookbindings.
French, Hannah D. Bookbinding in Early America: Seven Essays on Masters and Methods. Worcester: American Antiquarian Society, 1986.
Goldschmidt, E. Ph. Gothic & Renaissance Bookbindings, exemplified and illustrated from the author’s collection. 2 vols. London: Ernest Benn, 1928, Repr. Nieuwkoop, 1967. An early demonstration of the utility of studying and cataloging a binder’s finishing tools, and containing good examples of binding descriptions. If possible, read the introduction. This is not the most up-to-date text, but it is very helpful and provides a good overview.
Lock, Margaret. Bookbinding Materials and Techniques, 1700–1920. Toronto: The Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild, 2003.
Needham, Paul. Twelve Centuries of Bookbindings: 400–1600. New York: Pierpont Morgan Library, 1979. Catalog of a celebrated exhibition, and a broad survey of the whole field. Look at it and read a few descriptions if you can.
Nixon, Howard M. and Mirjam M. Foot. The History of Decorated Bookbinding in England. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992. The first more or less complete survey of bookbinding in Britain, written by Nixon and finished by Foot after his death.
Pearson, David. Books as History. Revised Edition. London: British Library/Oak Knoll Press, 2012. Read Chapter 5: “Variety through Binding” and Chapter 8: “Variety between Copies; a Case Study,” which together give a survey of what is important as to binding studies.
Pearson, David. English Bookbinding Styles 1450–1800, A Handbook. London & New Castle, Oak Knoll Press, 2005. A very useful work for dating English bindings with overviews of tools and types of design per period.
Pickwoad, Nicholas. “Onward and Downward: How Binders Coped with the Printing Press before 1800.” In A Millennium of the Book: Production, Design, and Illustration in Manuscript and Print, 900–1900, edited by Robin Myers and Michael Harris, 61–106. New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press, 1994. How changes in the printing and distribution of books can influence binding techniques.
Barber, Giles, et al. The James A. De Rothschild Bequest at Waddesdon Manor: Printed Books and Bookbindings. Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire: The Rothschild Foundation, 2013. Two volumes.
Cockerell, Douglas. Bookbinding and the Care of Books: A Textbook for Bookbinders and Librarians. London: 1901 (or any subsequent edition). Though outdated in some respects, this remains the clearest and most concise account of hand bookbinding in English.
Bryn Mawr College. Bookbinding in America 1680–1910: From the Collection of Frederick E. Maser. With an essay by Willman Spawn. Bryn Mawr: Bryn Mawr College Library, 1983. Willman Spawn was the greatest expert on American bindings.
Early American Bookbindings from the Collection of Michael Papantonio. Worcester: American Antiquarian Society, 1972. Second edition published 1985. Either edition is fine. A good introduction to American bindings.
Hobson, Anthony. Humanists and Bookbinders: The Origins and Diffusion of Humanistic Bookbinding, 1459–1559. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990. Reprinted 2012.
Marks, P.J.M. An Anthology of Decorated Papers: A Sourcebook for Designers. London: Thames & Hudson, 2016. There is also a smaller format 2018 edition.
McLean, Ruari. Victorian Publishers’ Book-bindings in Cloth and Leather. London: 1974.
McLean, Ruari. Victorian Publishers’ Book-bindings in Paper. London: 1983. Although both books contain little text, they are important for the subject matter.
Miller, Julia. Books will Speak Plain: A Handbook for Identifying and Describing Historical Bindings. Ann Arbor: The Legacy Press, 2010.
Miller, Julia, ed. Suave Mechanicals: Essays on the History of Bookbinding. Volume I. Ann Arbor: The Legacy Press, 2013.
Miller, Julia, ed. Suave Mechanicals: Essays on the History of Bookbinding. Volume II. Ann Arbor: The Legacy Press, 2015.
Tanselle, G. Thomas. Book-jackets: Their History, Forms, and Use. Charlottesville: 2011. One of the few existing publications on the subject.