Monday, June 27, 2011

Decorated Publishers’ Bindings 1840 to 1930: Collections from the State Library of Massachusetts

The library is pleased to announce the opening of its new exhibit Decorated Publishers’ Bindings 1840 to 1930: Collections from the State Library of Massachusetts, on display June 27 through September 9, 2011 outside of the State Library, Room 341 of the State House.

Books were once the luxury of the wealthy, bound by hand in leather or silk to suit the individual. As the literate public and its appetite for books increased, publishers began to take on the task of binding, greatly reducing the need for independent bookbinders. The Industrial Revolution brought about several technological advances that turned the craft of hand bookbinding into a process that could produce books en masse. The invention of mechanical presses enabled the cloth bindings to be imprinted, stamped and gilded to resemble the fine bindings traditionally produced by hand.

Publishers’ bindings enjoyed popularity from 1830 to the end of the 1930s when they were replaced by decorative dust jackets. This exhibit explores the artistic development of publishers’ bindings, their styles and reflections upon the events of the time, with over seventy-five examples from the State Library of Massachusetts.

A digital version of the exhibit is available on the Library’s Flickr site. Click here to view the online exhibit.

For more information on the exhibition please contact the State Library’s Special Collections Department:

Special thanks to Ann-Katreen Hollon, Marissa Sorek, Krista Barresi, Kate Boutin, April Pierce and Angela White for their work on this exhibit.

- Lacy Stoneburner, Preservation Librarian