B-75v. American Publishers’ Bookbindings, 1800–1900
“Anyone who works with or is interested in working with nineteenth-century cultural heritage would gain a tremendous amount from this class.” — 2017 student
Course Length: 12 hours
Course Week: 12–16 June 2023
Format: online only
Binderies in nineteenth-century America underwent dynamic changes, evolving from small shops employing a handful of workers to large factories producing thousands of bindings per day using assembly-line techniques. In this course we will examine the industrialization of bookbinding in America during the nineteenth century and the evolving organization of labor within binderies. Major topics covered will also include: the transition from attached board binding to case binding, the introduction of cloth as a binding material, and the increased and book-specific decoration opportunities case binding allowed.
During the course we will discuss a number of important individuals and establishments, including Benjamin Bradley, the Harper Establishment, the Altemus Bindery, Sarah Wyman Whitman, and Margaret Armstrong. In addition, the course will examine the changing decorative style of American publishers’ bindings during the nineteenth century and the increasing bibliographic significance of bindings.
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