January Binding of the Month Club
Mon, 08 Feb 2016 19:10:00 +0000
I'll begin this post with two preliminary matters. First, I wish all American trade binding admirers and aficionados a very happy new year. The second is a confession regarding 2016 resolutions: one of mine was to put up Binding of the Month Club posts earlier in the month during the new year. Fortunately I've blown that one already so I can now concentrate on breaking my other resolutions.
With that preamble over I'd like to present my binding selection for January. The Friendship's Offering: a Christmas, New Year and Birthday Present, for MDCCCXLIX.
This book was published in 1849 by Phillips & Sampson of Boston. It's not only a fine example of an embossed binding
, but it is also an example of a fascinating genre of books published in America from the 1820s to the 1860s called gift books, literary annuals, or keepsakes
. On top of this, the binding is signed. What's not to like?
First to the binding. The design is in three parts, the front cover, back cover, and spine. The same die was used to stamp the front and back covers which consists of an embossed (raised above the flat surface of the book) ornate floral pattern. This distinguishes it from a stamped design in which the design is impressed into the cover material (also known as blind-stamping when no gold or color is used). The twining leaves break into buds and blossoms in the middle of the design and form a cartouche at the center of the cover. The die is also used to give several "grains" to the cover other than the natural grain of the leather. If you look closely at the texture of the background leather you will notice that the leather outside the outer band of leaves looks different than the surface around the inner band of leaves, which in turn looks different than the leather within the cartouche. The following enlargements illustrate these features.
Left side of cartouche to outer border; the net grain, sand grain, and smooth surface of the cartouche can clearly be seen.
The spine was stamped from a separate die and shows similar features to the cover.
|Lower part of spine showing floral decorations with net grain below and sand grain above.|
|Upper spine with floral decorations on net grain surface.|
|Lettering on smooth surface. Note that the lettering is stamped, not embossed. It is also off-center, particularly the middle line, and the "s" of "friendship's" is not within the title panel but on the raised rule border. This shows that the lettering was a separate operation from the die embossing on the spine.|
Although the central cartouche is blank on the front and back covers, it looks to me as if the space has been reserved for either some small image or ornament, which probably would have been stamped in gilt, or for the title of the volume which would have been added in a similar way to the gilt spine lettering. The binding dies, or "plaques" as they are sometimes called, could not only be used on all copies of a particular book. but could also be used on the bindings of other books. Stereotype or electrotype plates for printing a book's text were part of a publisher's stocks and they were often bought by other publishers for their own editions of an author. When a publisher went out of business, from death, bankruptcy, or other reasons, the printing plates could be sold or auctioned off, either for further use in printing or for scrap. The same was true of plates for illustrations and bindings. There was also an active trade in these during the 19th and early 20th century. Our own binding design appeared on at least 15 other publications from 1844 to 1854 according to Edwin Wolf 's catalog of embossed leather bindings. These include ten volumes of the annual Friendship's Offering (1845-1855) and five others. It was first used on the Friendship's Offering of 1845, published by Boston's Lewis and Sampson, subsequently used on the same title through 1850 by Phillips & Sampson, and by E.H. Butler & Co. of Philadelphia from 1852 through 1854 on a variety of titles.
This brings us to the designer of this binding. Almost all of the bindings featured on "American Trade Bindings and Beyond" have been from the period of the artist/designer, (1880s-1920s) when an artist would supply a design along with colors, lettering, etc. for a cover but did not do the engraving; this was either done by the publisher/printer if they had the facilities (such as Houghton Mifflin's Riverside Press), or would be contracted out to engravers. Our book appeared, however, in the period of the die-sinker or die-engraver. The actual stamping and binding of books were done by a number of bookbinding firms, but the dies were designed and cut by die-sinkers. We are fortunate to know who produced the particular dies which were used to decorate our binding. At the foot of the panel used for the front and back covers, just inside the double rules at the outer corners, our die-sinker identifies himself and where he works.
On the left side, the signature "A C MORIN" appears; on the right "PHILA"
Edwin Wolf identifies this signature as that of Alexander C. Morin: "The most active engraver of American manufactured plaques was Alexander C. Morin, a die-sinker of Philadelphia, who for a decade after the mid-1830s worked for the large binderies" (p. 39). Earlier Wolf describes him as "the most prolific engraver of embossed designs ... whose career lasted until 1859 but of whom very little is known" (p.
32). Morin was listed in a directory as a "jeweller, chaser & die sinker" in 1821, and he did a good deal of work for the large binding firms of Benjamin Gaskill in Philadelphia and Benjamin Bradley in Boston. It would not be surprising if Bradley's firm bound our book, as it was published by Phillips & Sampson of Boston, but there is no evidence on our book (Bradley frequently stamped his own name on bindings or pasted in a small binder's ticket). I was delighted to find evidence of Morin's work as a silversmith in a reproduction of Morin's mark at the fascinating site Sterling Flatware Fashions and Facts
The publisher of Friendship's Offering was the firm of Phillips, Sampson and Company (here appearing under their earlier name, Phillips & Sampson). The firm was formed in the early 1840s by Moses Dresser Phillips and Charles Sampson, William Lee was hired in 1844 but his name never appeared in the firms imprint (other than as "and Company"). Phillips and Sampson both died in 1859 and the firm was dissolved. Lee later became a co-founder of the publishing house Lee and Shepard which is well represented in the American Publishers Trade Bindings Collection
. Though the firm was prosperous and in addition to publishing important books founded the Atlantic Monthly in 1857, it is also known as the publisher that passed on Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, Lee was worried, apparently, that it would not go over well in Phillips, Sampson's southern market. So they passed and the novel went on to sell 300,000 copies in its first year for John P. Jewett and Company. Oops. In the current context I'll add that Phillips, Sampson also published 28 gift books according to Bruce Kirkham's Indices to American Literary Annuals.
Information on gift books, annuals, and keepsakes is plentiful. Wikipedia’s article is a good short introduction, and the always enjoyable and informative Publishers’ Bindings Online (PBO) site has a longer, well-illustrated essay on the subject. The references listed below are widely available and give more detailed information.
Very briefly, literary annuals first appeared in Europe in the 1860s, first in France and shortly after in Germany. The first English language annual was the Forget-Me-Not, published in London by Rudolph Ackerman in 1822. The Philadelphia publishing firm Carey and Lea produced the first American gift book in 1825 under the title The Atlantic souvenir. From the beginning these were fine productions, gathering prose essays, short fiction and poetry together with illustrations and issued in often opulent bindings. They were not only read but were luxury objects to display on the parlor table. The cost averaged between $2.50 and $5 at a time when an average salary was $3.50 per week according to PBO. As the name implies, gift books were often purchased and given on special occasions, such as Christmas, birthdays, and other important dates. They were a product of a time in which literacy was rising, more leisure time was available, and the middle class was growing, particularly in New England.
It didn’t take long for publishers to include a presentation page, often illustrated or chromolithographed, for the purchaser to inscribe to the lucky or treasured recipient. The primary audience for these books was women and girls, and they were often edited and filled with contributions by women (our own modest collection is shelved in the Woman’s Collection in Special Collections). The gift books were important for fostering the growth of American literature in that they were mostly or completely made up of contributions from American authors. Most gift books contained up to ten engravings after American paintings, though some contained many more. American literature, art, printing and binding all contributed to their appeal. From 1825-1865 over a thousand gift books were published.
Inside the binding, Friendship's Offering, which you can view in full on the Internet Archive, is quite typical of the genre. It has a printed title page and an added engraved title page.
Left: note that the date, in Roman numerals, is in a different font than the rest of the title page and it is much fainter. This indicates that the title page was re-used from an earlier year with a new line of type for the date substituted.
The contributions consist of a mix of prose and poetry:
With 9 engravings by John Sartain
|Image of John Sartain from Wikipedia|
John Sartain (1808-1897) was an English artist who emigrated to the United States in 1830. He was a pioneer in mezzotint engraving in America, and his work was heavily represented in the gift books. In addition to being a painter, he engraved bank notes and did a great deal of book illustration. As Ralph Thompson says, "volume after volume is decorated with his work, and for its quantity, if not its quality, a measure of admiration is due. ... Others worked in his manner ... but Sartain himself remained the representative mezzotint engraver of his time." (p. 43).
As mentioned previously, The University Libraries at UNC Greensboro, holds several dozen gift books and annuals. Most of them are from the 1850s and to a lesser extent the 1840s. To give just a taste of the variety of bindings used on them, I've included some other images from the collection.
|Offering to beauty, 1853 |
|Gem annual, 1854|
|Frienship's token, 18 |
|Memory's gift, 1856|
|Golden gift, 1853|
Many more images of gift books are available for even the casually interested. Publishers' Bindings Online offers over 100 images
and brief descriptions. The Columbia University Libraries held an exhibition in 1997 on "Gold Stamped Bindings of the 19th Century" which can still be seen as an online exhibit
. The exhibit included a section on gift books
. Edwin Wolf's book is online and includes many black and white photographs and rubbings of bindings
. There are many other fascinating aspects of this genre to explore, such as "spurious" gift books, in which a publisher would take the sheets for an existing gift book, add a new title page and possibly a new preface or first work, and then publish the same book under a different title. Apparently many people didn't notice and bought the "new" book for that special someone. You can still find 19th century gift books for sale at not unreasonable prices. With less than a week until Valentine's Day, there's still time for you to surprise someone with one. Feel free to take credit for the idea.
--Thompson, Ralph. American Literary Annuals & Gift Books, 1825-1865. New York: H.W. Wilson, 1936.
--Kirkman, E. Bruce. Indices to American Literary Annuals and Gift Books, 1825-1865. New Haven, Conn.: Research Publications, 1975.
--Wolf 2nd, Edwin, From Gothic Windows to Peacocks: American Embossed Leather Bindings, 1825-1855. Philadelphia: Library Company, 1990. This book is also available online.
--Frederick W. Faxon. Literary Annuals and Gift Books. Pinner, U.K.: Private Libraries Association, 1973.
--"Tokens of Affection: Art, Literature, and Politics in Nineteenth Century American Gift Books." Publisher's Bindings Online, 1815-1930. http://bindings.lib.ua.edu/gallery/giftbooks.htm
--"Phillips, Sampson and Company." in Dictionary of Literary Biography, v. 49. American Literary Publishing Houses, 1638-1899, part 2, p. 364-366. Detroit, Mich.: Gale Research, 1986.
--"Gift Book" on Wikipedia, viewed 2/5/2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gift_book
No Boundaries in Preservation
Tue, 05 Jan 2016 21:13:00 +0000
We just launched the Preservation Services grant funded project No Boundaries in Preservation.
NO BOUNDARIES IN PRESERVATION
The main objective of No Boundaries in Preservation
is educational and intends to exchange relevant information to the practice of basic preservation and conservation of books and documents in libraries and archives.
To ensure this knowledge can cover a greater number of communities, all files will be offered into three languages: English, Spanish and Portuguese.
Take a look on the first videos and posters for download.
We also worked together with the Council of States Archivists and translated their Pocket Response Guide into Spanish and Portuguese. The Pocket Response Plan™ (PReP™) is a concise document for recording essential information needed by staff in case of a disaster or other emergency. Every person having a response-related assignment should carry a PReP with them at all times.
All the versions are free for downloading.The funding for No Boundaries in Preservation was provided through the generosity of the University Libraries Innovation Grant Program at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
The Friends of the UNCG Libraries are advocates and supporters of the Libraries. Our Friends make a real difference in our ability to serve the campus and the local community.
University Libraries at UNCG Contribute African American History Materials to Google Cultural Institute
Mon, 01 Feb 2016 21:40:00 +0000
|Housekeeping Staff |
of the State Normal and Industrial School, circa 1895
Starting this week, artifacts from the University Libraries at UNC Greensboro can be viewed online by people around the world due to a new partnership between the Google Cultural Institute and the University Libraries.
Visitors to the Google Cultural Institute site may also view an exhibit regarding African Americans at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 1892-1971. To view the exhibit and learn more about the UNCG materials on the site, see https://uncglibraries.culturalspot.org/home
This exhibit traces the history of African American faculty, staff, and students at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG), from its opening as the State Normal and Industrial School in 1892 until 1971. Through digitized photographs and documents as well as audio clips from oral history interviews conducted as part of the African American Institutional Memory Project, viewers can learn more about African American employees on campus prior to desegregation, Jim Crow-era debates over the use of facilities by African Americans, the fight to integrate the student body, student involvements in the sit ins and protest movements of the early 1960s, the founding of the UNCG Neo-Black Society in 1968, and the hiring of the first African American faculty members.
Some of the highlights of the exhibit:
- Photographs of African American employees who worked on campus in the 1890s and 1900s. Many of these photographs have never before been published.
- Letters from campus administrators outlining the Jim Crow era segregation laws that impacted the use of campus buildings and facilities by African Americans.
- Audio clips from oral history interviews conducted as part of the African American Institutional Memory Project. Clips include JoAnne Smart Drane discussing her arrival on campus as one of the first two African American students, Karen Lynn Parker recalling her participation the Tate Street protests over segregation in 1963, and Marie Darr Scott discussing the founding of the Neo-Black Society in 1968.
The University Libraries’ project with the Google Cultural Institute was coordinated by the Special Collections and University Archives (Erin Lawrimore) and the Electronic Resources and Information Technology Department (Richard Cox and David Gwynn).
The Google Cultural Institute
and its partners are putting the world’s cultural treasures at the fingertips of Internet users and are building tools that allow the cultural sector to share more of its diverse heritage online. The Google Cultural Institute has partnered with more than 1,000 institutions giving a platform to over 250,000 thousand artworks and a total of 6 million photos, videos, manuscripts and other documents of art, culture and history. Read more here
Check-in to see which new DVDs are hitting the shelves in Jackson Library!
Wed, 27 Jan 2016 21:40:00 +0000
Rooms for tutoring
Mon, 08 Feb 2016 21:49:00 +0000
You asked: Are there private rooms for tutoring?
Yes! The study rooms on floors 2, 5 and 6 are ideal for tutoring. They have a table and chairs, room for up to 3 people, power and wireless is available. Any UNCG student may reserve them on the scheduler on the Libraries' home page.
Congratulations North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame Inductees
Tue, 26 Jan 2016 21:47:00 +0000
The North Carolina Literary Map would like to send a hardy congratulations to the 2016 North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame Inductees: Clyde Edgerton
, Margaret Maron
, and Carl Sandburg
. The Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives have the Margaret Maron Papers
on long-term loan. The papers contain correspondence and newspaper clippings as well as drafts of Maron's amazing mystery novels. For more information on the inductees, please see the North Carolina Writer's Network
SCUA collects, preserves, and makes accessible rare, unique, or otherwise significant materials outside the scope of the general UNCG library collection. We also deliver presentations, classes, tours, and exhibits.
Our collections include official records, personal manuscripts, rare books, textiles, A/V materials and artifacts. Subject strengths include women's history, literature, theatre, music, and dance.
New Air Force Recruiting Posters in the Women Veterans Historical Project
Wed, 03 Feb 2016 20:06:00 +0000
Recruiting posters and brochures are a great resources not only for information about the U.S. military, but also for the history of graphic design and cultural attitudes about women.
The Women Veterans Historical Project recently acquired two new WAF (Women in the Air Force) recruiting posters.
In the dark about your future? enjoy travel...prestige...and excellent job opportunities in the WAF is from 1960 and was designed by the team of John Morning and Sheldon Streisand (sadly, no relation to Barbra). This poster packs quite a visual punch!
Forecast with a smile--who cares about the weather? is from 1968. Well, it IS the first lieutenant's job, so I hope her commanding officer cares!
Photos and other fun stuff from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives in the University Libraries.
You can also follow us on Twitter: @UNCGArchives!
In celebration of Black History Month, #MusicMonday is...
Mon, 08 Feb 2016 14:01:21 -0500
In celebration of Black History Month, #MusicMonday is featuring works by African American composers. Photographed is a piece based on Scott Joplin’s “Rose leaf rag: a ragtime two step,” arranged for cello quartet by an unknown arranger. This piece, as well as many other multi-cello arrangements, are from the Laszlo Varga Cello Music Collection (http://bit.ly/1Vbkgtj).
Ten UNCG Professors Save Students $150,000 in Textbook Costs with $10,000 in Pilot Project Mini Grants from the Office of the Provost and the University Libraries
Wed, 27 Jan 2016 14:57:00 +0000
In the Spring of 2015 the Office of the Provost and the University Libraries announced that they would support a pilot project where faculty interested in providing their students with a less expensive yet educationally rewarding alternative known as OER (Open Educational Resources) to expensive commercial textbooks. The results yielded quality teaching materials at a savings to students of $150,000. Ten $1000 stipends were granted to faculty as an incentive to encourage the faculty to use low-cost or free alternatives to expensive course materials; these could include open-access scholarly resources, library-licensed and owned resources, and learning objects and texts that faculty create themselves.
Beth Bernhardt, representing the University Libraries, interviewed each winner before the Fall 2015 semester began and again at the end of the semester. “Everyone was just as enthusiastic about the project at the end of the semester as they were at the beginning,” she says. “All of the grant winners plan on continuing to use alternative resources for their classes for Spring 2016.” Bernhardt continues, "We have wonderful faculty who are eager to find new ways to teach students while keeping their expenses as low as they can. We were so pleased that our relatively small investment could reap such savings, and we encourage others to consider what using open educational resources can mean for their teaching and for their students."
Many of the professors were glowing in their praise of the idea of open educational resources, and so were their students. Jennifer Reich noted that “The resources I found are much better than the textbooks and the students can do more with them.” Heather Helms said, “My class asked if we were going to have a textbook for the course, when I told them we would use alternative resources the entire class applauded.” In Elizabeth Perrill’s course Survey of Non-Western Art, the textbook would have cost $171.00 new. She has approximately 215 students take classes annually. Total savings for all the students in her classes was thus $36,765. Similar results with the other classes yielded an estimated $150,000 in aggregate savings to students as compared to buying the textbooks that would otherwise have been used in the classes.
A survey was given to the students at the end of the semester and they were asked to share their thoughts about not having a textbook for the class, too. Typical comments included “Keep doing this please for I’m a broke college student,” and “I thought that the resources were very organized for the course and easy to access. I felt I studied more effectively with these resources and I greatly appreciate the way they were organized. It was easier to follow than a traditional textbook.”
The University Libraries, in its commitment to promote Open Educational Resources, has joined the Open Textbook Network. This network promotes access, affordability, and student success through the use of open textbooks. The network will provide a workshop for UNCG faculty that are interested in supporting faculty adoption of open textbooks in the coming year.
If you are interested in learning more about Open Educational Resources check out the website http://uncg.libguides.com/oer
or contact Beth Bernhardt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The winners of the grants were:
• Robert Anemone , Professor and Department Head, Anthropology;
• Heather Helms, Associate Professor, HDFS;
• Channelle D. James, Lecturer, Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Hospitality and Tourism - Bryan School;
• Liz McNamara, Lecturer, Political Science;
• Carrie A. Wachter Morris, Associate Professor, CED;
• Nancy Myers and Brenta Blevins (working together) , College Writing Program Director and Assistant Director, English;
• Terence A Nile, Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry;
• Elizabeth Perrill, Associate Professor, Art;
• Jennifer Reich, Associate Director/Lecturer, CASA/Art; and
• Kelly L Wester, Associate Professor, CED.
Tales from the University Archives at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Neo-Black Society at Risk: The 1973 Challenge of NBS's Funding
Mon, 08 Feb 2016 14:00:00 +0000
In last week's Spartan Stories post
, we looked at the 1967 Black Power Forum and its impact on the founding of UNCG's Neo-Black Society (NBS) in 1968. The founding of the NBS, however, did not come without controversy. Some students accused the NBS of "reverse racism," claiming that they refused to admit white students to the organization.
In February 1973, six white UNCG students filed a complaint with the Student Government Association's Committee on Classification of Organizations, calling for the revocation of NBS's standing as a financially-supported student organization. At the time, NBS had a membership of approximately 145 students. This petition cited two major complaints from those students regarding NBS membership and activities. At least four of the six petitioners were current Student Government Association (SGA) senators.
|Two students in the NBS Lounge, 1973|
The bulk of the petition focused on a claim that NBS was in violation of SGA bylaws due to "a direct link between NBS and YOBU -- a Black Separatist, anti-White group." YOBU (the Youth Organization for Black Unity, previously the Student Organization for Black Unity) was a Greensboro-based group that formed in 1969, growing out of the Black Power Movement. The petitioners claimed that YOBU "is limited to Black persons only," and, due to their alleged affiliation, NBS would limit its membership too. The petitioners noted that this violated SGA bylaws requiring organizations to "be open to any and all undergraduates." It also claims that UNCG's support of the NBS "placed both UNC-G and NBS very possibly in violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, given NBS's association with YOBU."
On Sunday, February 25, 1973, a hearing was held by the SGA Committee on Classification of Organizations to investigate the claims made in the petition. The Committee determined that the petitioners statements did not meet the burden for reclassifying NBS and revoking its funding. Specifically in regards to affiliation with YOBU, the Committee stated that "no direct link has been proven to exist between the NBS and YOBU for the 1972-1973 school year," noting that the only evidence that the petitioners brought forth in support of this claim was that an NBS member "had her way paid to a YOBU open state conference with funds provided for her by NBS."
The Committee also found that additional claims of membership limitations based on race did not violate SGA bylaws. The Committee did suggest a small wording change for the NBS constitution to clarify the organization's intent, noting that the current wording of the NBS constitution "might induce misapprehension in the minds of those uninitiated in the intricacies of constitutional legality." Specifically, the Committee recommended replacing the sentence "Members and their invited guests may attend" to "Meetings must be open to the entire student body unless business pertinent only to NBS membership is being considered." You can read the full decision by the Committee here
A full meeting of the Student Senate was held on March 20 to discuss the Neo-Black Society. Additionally, "open" and "executive" Senate sessions took place on March 26 and 27. In these sessions, SGA "heard appeals, rebuttals, and counter-rebuttals from delegations representing both the Neo-Black Society and the Senate." A Senate vote was taken over the NBS funding, and, acting counter to the findings of the Committee on Classifications of Organizations, the Senate voted to reclassify the NBS, removing its funding and rights to use university facilities.
A scuffle ensued in the Senate chambers after the decision was handed down. At least one student received treatment at a hospital after the incident. One Neo-Black Society member was later found guilty of assault by the Greensboro District Court. On the night of March 27, hundreds of students gathered at the Mossman Building for a sit-in demonstration to protest the Student Senate's decision. Estimates of student participation on that first night of demonstration are as high as 750 (including both black and white students).
|Letter from Ferguson to NBS Coordinator Leon Chestnut|
stating his decision to invalidate the SGA decision, Mach 31, 1973
Chancellor James Ferguson immediately convened a faculty committee to investigate the Senate's actions. An official report from the committee was filed with Chancellor Ferguson on March 31, advising "that the reclassification of the Neo-Black Society by the Student Senate was not justified. The Committee finds that the evidence presented did not establish the validity of the substantive charges. Furthermore, the Senate's procedure in dealing with the charges against the Neo-Black Society involved such serious improprieties as to limit the rights of the Society under rules of due process and fairness." Specifically, the report found that "new evidence of a substantial nature was introduced during the executive session, beyond the scrutiny of the NBS representative." It also reported that the Senate questionably chose to exclude NBS and Senate member Donna Benson from voting on the issue, while allowing four other Senators who had been original petitioners to vote.
This, however, did not end the question of funding and status for the Neo-Black Society at UNCG. Check back next week to learn more about the SGA reactions to Ferguson's faculty committee report and the ensuing legal procedures.