Adhered-Boards Construction and the Transition to Case Binding

Todd Pattison 

A 50-minute Zoom presentation with 10- to 20-minute breaks at the halfway point and the end for Q&A. This event is scheduled for Monday, 22 June, 2020, 2–3:30 p.m. ET.

The majority of bindings produced in America during the first 30 years of the nineteenth century did not have laced-on boards, the dominant construction technique in previous centuries that used sewing supports to attach the cover boards. These bindings were also not case bound, a structure that utilized a completed cover that was adhered to a text block as a finishing step. This talk will examine the history of binding with adhered boards, an often-overlooked structure that used a waste sheet of the endpapers to attach the cover boards. Examples from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries will be used to show that the adhered-boards structure was extensively used, and that case construction did not occur as early as many bookbinding historians have stated. Finally, several techniques for identifying adhered-boards binding will be discussed in order to differentiate it from case binding, as both structures were in common use in the 1830s and 1840s.

At Rare Book School, Todd Pattison teaches B-75 “American Publishers’ Bookbindings, 1800–1900.”

This lecture was presented live in June 2020. The session was recorded, and you are invited to watch the recording of the event below via our RBS YouTube channel.


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Image by Todd Pattison of Keach, Benjamin, The Travels of True Godliness and Ungodliness Abridged from the Works of Mr. Benjamin Keach, Philadelphia: Ezekiel Cooper, 1803. Image shows the boards attached with a waste stub of the endsheet construction.