The Fenwick Library Addition is anticipated to open in late January 2016. Library materials will start to be moved into new library space by late October. This massive project will affect all areas and items in the existing Fenwick Library. Faculty should plan ahead for fall course reserve needs and place Fall Semester 2015 reserve requests now.
For more information, please contact Laura Ramos, lramos8 @gmu.edu, 703-933-3493.
Now on exhibit in Special Collections + Archives, Increase + Multiply: The Story of Publishers’ Bindings traces the effects of technology on book publishing. The display is in Fenwick Library, Floor 2, Wing C, and is on exhibit through the summer.
From the time of the Roman codex until about 1830, the technique of binding continued virtually the same — a unique, handmade craft passed down through the centuries. Then, in the 1830s, a short cut was invented. “Casing-in” allowed covers to be made separately and only later attached to the book. The new process meant that cover decoration could be mechanized. The publishing business then grew to combine the old separate crafts of printing and binding to create a finished product – the book – for sale. Through this century, books included the publishers’ branding as cloth colors, stamped designs, spine labels, and other evidence linked books to their publishers. Thus the term “publishers’ bindings” was used for this new era of book production.
Once the manufacture of covers became a separate task from binding the pages, design developments followed quickly throughout the nineteenth century. Experimental graining and embossing of cloth in the 1830s was adopted so quickly that smooth cloth book bindings are rare for many decades of the nineteenth century. Soon to follow were blind-stamped curling ornament and small generalized vignettes in the 1840s. The 1850s saw more generous use of gold leaf stamping, with larger, content specific vignettes. The 1860s, at lease in Civil War torn America, brought in minimal decoration, with limited cloth graining and colors, and emblematic pictorials on book bindings. The 1870s saw the return of exuberance, with asymmetry, black ink as well as gold stamping, and Eastlake designs. During the 1880s, new colors of ink emerged along with the use of crowded, overlapping bulletin board designs. Lettering tended to be expressive or flowing. By the 1890s and into the twentieth century, artist-signed –or un-signed–book bindings are often found. Artist bindings are characterized by highly professional layout, ungrained book cloth, and a flat, poster style. By the 1920s, printed paper book jackets – not book bindings–began to be the focus of design. The era of decorated publishers bindings came to an end.
For more information about this exhibit, contact Yvonne Carignan, ycarignan @gmu.edu