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The Library's most recent effort to exhibit and explain its bindings is the website prepared during 2004, entitled "Hand Bookbindings: Plain and Simple to Grand and Glorious." Selection, arrangement, and description of these bindings is based on the the exhibition by the same name appearing in the in the Library's main gallery from November 10, 2002 to April 20, 2003.
Within the General Rare Books Collection, the Manuscript Division, and the Graphic Arts Collection are several groups of interesting book bindings, both fine and/or historic. The group most immediate to hand are those 100 outstanding bindings identified by Jamie Shalleck (Kamph) in 1978 and described in her catalogue Fine Bindings: Gothic to Modern (Princeton: Princeton University Library, 1978). [(Ex) Z269.xP74 and (F) Z269.P74]. All 100 exhibits are owned by the Library, starting with a jeweled 12th-century binding and continuing on to a fine binding done ca. 1932.
Also note her article "Identifying and Classifying Fine Bindings" in A Miscellany for Bibliophiles edited by H. George Fletcher (New York, 1979) pp. 127-157. The article contains many illustrations of bindings at Princeton together with commentary. She also discusses two anachronistic (possibly counterfeit) bindings.
Also see the file of notes on bindings in Scheide, Taylor and the General Rare Book Collections which was gathered by Mrs. Kamph (Shalleck) in preparation for her exhibition catalogue. The notes describe the bindings, are arranged chronologically, but are un-indexed. File kept in the office of the Curator of Rare Books.
Also to be considered are the following groups: 1) as examples of rudimentary techniques, the Ethiopic codices held by the Manuscripts Division; 2) the Metzdorf Collection of Victorian Bindings (q.v.) and 3) the Bindings Collection in the Graphic Arts Collection.
Among the special files for the General Rare Books Collection is one for bindings, listing them by binder, locality, and date of production as well as by special type.
Willman Spawn of the American Philosophical Society has identified and localized a number of bindings in the Princeton University Library. (Mr. Spawn has further details.) A summary of some of Mr. Spawn's findings are in an annotated copy of the catalogue Early American Bookbindings from the collection of Michael Papantonio (New York, 1972) [(GA) Z270.U5 E37]
Also see the catalogue of a small exhibition of American bindings (1700-1920) prepared by Stephen Ferguson in 1983 [(ExB) 0639.739 no. 44]. [full text].
Also consult the Collections File under the heading "Bindings." There are folders for jeweled bindings as well as detailing particulars regarding bindings examined and discussed by Nicholas Pickwoad during his 1995 and 1996 seminars at the Library.
Latin scholars receiving prize books at ceremony at Delft, ca. 1725.
[From vignette on titlepage of Oratio de causis deminuti imperii romani (Delft, 1728)]
The Library also has a number of Dutch 'prijsboeken' - prize books in especial prize bindings awarded by the Latin schools in the Northern Netherlands.
Summary of holdings:
1. Antwerp — VRG 2945.1495.2q. (Virgil) Arms of Augustinian College, Antwerp, stamped on covers; prize inscription dated 15 September 1695.
2. Amersfoort — Rare Books Off-Site Storage: RCPXR 2905.311.234 (Pliny)
3. Amsterdam — Ex 2920.1652q c. 2 (Seneca)
4. Amsterdam — Ex 2800.664 (Mythographi latini), includes 'prijsopdracht' (prize dedication), printed leaf, dated 1713
5. Amsterdam — PTT 2865.1608 (Horace), includes 'prijsopdracht' (prize dedication), printed leaf, dated 1639
6. Amsterdam — Ex 5070.947.1668f (Vossius), includes 'prijsopdracht' (prize dedication), printed leaf, dated 1677
7. Amsterdam — Ex 2826.1670 (Caesar)
8. Amsterdam — Ex 2011-0042Q (Noodt)
9. Bergen — PTT 2865.1721.4 (Horace), includes 'prijsopdracht' (prize dedication), printed leaf, dated 1827
10. Delft — Exov 2933.1721 (Tacitus)
11. Deventer — PTT 2865.1728 (Horace), includes 'prijsopdracht' (prize dedication), in mss., dated 1752
12. Dordrecht — VRG 2945.1723 (Virgil)
13. Goes — Ex 7628.234q (Calvin), includes 'prijsopdracht' (prize dedication), in mss., dated 1664
14. Groningen — VRG 2945.1704 (Virgil)
15. Groningen — Rare Books Off-Site Storage: RCPXR 2953.876 copy 1 (Auctores mythographi latini)
16. Hague — Ex 2826.1686 (Caesar)
17. Hague — Ex 2953.876 (Auctores mythographi latini)
18. Rotterdam — Ex 2550.377 c. 1 (Opuscula Mythologica)
19. Rotterdam — Ex PA6661 .A2 1632q (Seneca)
20. Rotterdam — Ex 2004-2965N+2966N (Barclay)
21. Utrecht — Rare Books Off-Site Storage: RCPXR 2619.1750 (Chariton)
22. Zwolle — Ex 2927.1736 (Zwolle)
See: J. Spoelder, Prijsboeken op de latijnse school, (Amsterdam, 2000) [(GA) 2004-3183N] (Prize books at the Latin schools in the Northern Netherlands, c. 1585-1876, with a repertory of the coats of arms on these books, English summary, pp. 731-736. Illustrated with 33 plates, dozens of figures, and about 170 rubbings of binding stamps.)
A French 17th century prize binding with the gilt arms of the Collège des Grassins (Collegium Grassinaeum of the University of Paris) is in the Patterson Horace collection. (PTT 2865.1611 cop. 3)
|Armorialbindings can be found by searching the main catalogue for the following phrases in the keyword index: "armorial binding," "armorial bindings."||
Arms of Guillaume de Lamoignon (1617-1677)
Arms of Louis Hesselin (1602-1662)
Also, noteworthy are two English 16th century blind stamped bindings of importance:
- Binding stamped in blind with the "K.L.- L.K." roll. See volume of English law yearbooks, ca. 1500-1528 [(ExKa) Americana 1528q]
Detail from Weale Bookbindings and Rubbings of Bindings in The National Art Library South Kensington Museum London, 1898, page 134, entry 156.
- Binding stamped in blind with the initials "N.S.," that is, Nicholas Spierinck. See Artificialis introductio per modum epitomatis in decem libros Ethicorum Aristotelis [(Exov) 2599.2505] The covers are stamped with the following stamp:
Stamp 1 of Nicholas Spierinck. Cf. G.J. Gray, The Earlier Cambridge Stationers and Bookbinders,Oxford 1904, p. 47, and plate XXVIIB.
- Also, a note on Laced-papercase conservation bindings, a project of Scott Husby in 2007 during his tenure as rare book conservator at the Library.
"There are many instances of book repair or rebinding where a rather modest investment of time and effort can bring satisfying results. One such small project during the past year has been the treatment of a number of volumes in the Gryphius Collection in Rare Books. The 16th- century Lyons printer Sebastian Gryphius was one of the important printers of the Renaissance in France. Like his contemporaries Aldus Manutius in Venice and Robert Estienne in Paris, he produced many small-sized editions of the Latin classics among other volumes. Many of these were bound in rather modest laced-parchment bindings which are very pleasing to handle and examine. Princeton has a collection of about 200 Gryphius editions, many in their original bindings. However, about 20 to 25 volumes in the Gryphius Collection have been rebound (probably in the 19th century) in very poor quality acidic paper wrappers, with weak or broken sewing. With the approval of Rare Books curator Steve Ferguson, a project was begun during the past year to rebind these copies to make them more useable and to ensure their longevity. They have been removed from their acidic paper covers, treated as needed in terms of washing and page repair, and then rebound in laced-papercase bindings. The paper for these cases is currently available from papermaking studios such as Dieu Donne in New York City and the University of Iowa papermaking facility in Iowa City. These papers are incredibly strong and flexible, and they make wonderful book covers. The laced-papercase structure is very appropriate for rebinding of books from the 16th-century, harking back to the historical models of that time. They are non-adhesive and wonderfully flexible in terms of their opening. They have a nice "hand" about them. And they are quite modest in terms of time to make. One of these treatments probably takes 6-10 hours from start to finish. The accompanying photo shows three of the existing acidic paper-covered copies in the foreground to the right. Lying to the left is a Gryphius edition in an original laced- parchment binding. In the center and standing behind are a selection of those books which have been rebound in new papercase bindings. So far about ten Gryphius titles have been so treated, and the other volumes may well be finished during the coming year."