American Trade Bindings and Beyond

Happy Holidays from the Decorative Designers

Fri, 23 Dec 2016 21:10:00 +0000

It’s only a few days until Christmas and, as always at this time of year, our thoughts are turning to seasonal and wintry topics: decorating the house, seeing family, vacation, finding the perfect gift for that strange uncle, being stranded on a train by a blizzard …

To celebrate the season, our last post of 2016 is a fine wintry design from our friends the Decorative Designers. 

Will Carleton. Drifted in. New York: Every Where Publishing Company, 1908. 

The cover is a model of using space effectively, color, and suggestion. The effects are achieved using only two colors (light blue and black) and gilt on a grayish-blue cloth. The central image of the snow-bound train is enclosed in a rigid frame, with the front of the engine only one eighth of an inch from the left frame. 

The claustrophobic feeling is reinforced by the gilt lettering which pushes the image into an even smaller space. At the same time the train seems to stretch beyond the right frame creating tension in the design. No trees or clouds or any other feature other than snow and train relieve the loneliness of the setting. The colors add to the effect as the light blue reflective snow contrasts with the dead flat black of the train, with the blue cloth suggesting both darkness and cold. We have no real idea how serious the drifting is as there is no indication of how far the drift extends in either direction. But is the wind still howling? You bet! Is the bell on the engine silent? Absolutely—it’s snow covered. And the engineer seems to have removed himself to warmer parts of the train. 

The enclosure by winter is reinforced by the border: dark and with a pattern of snowflakes at the top and either frost patterns or some sort of stylized evergreen shrub leaves below. By a nice trick of optics, the snowflakes seem to be greener than the evergreen even though both are simply unstamped cloth.

But all is not cold and dark; by using touches of gilt the design suggests that in the train cars at least there is light, warmth, and companionship.  One gets the feeling that although the scene is cold and bleak, there’s something enticing about those cars in such a landscape and it might not be at all bad to be “drifted in.”

The use of contrasting gold, blue, and black also shows some very subtle touches, such as the snow-rimmed light at the front of the engine and the tiny square window half-obscured by snow. 

To reiterate a point made above, this complex design is achieved using only gilt, two colors of ink, and a masterful use of the cloth color to enrich the image.  Color stamping was an added cost, and publishers regularly limited the number of colors used.  Each color normally required its own stamping die, and though designers regularly used three, four, or even five colors, it would certainly have been a selling point to use as few as possible.  As mentioned in last month’s post, white was a particularly difficult color to work with and tended to wear badly.  White lettering, particularly on the spine, seldom survives intact; and large areas of white, as in large floral designs or snowscapes, quickly rubbed and flaked.  The Decorative Designers solved this problem by choosing a light blue ink for the snow, enhancing the effect of the design (white would have radically changed the mood the design engenders) while avoiding the inevitable rapid deterioration of white ink on cloth.

The binding design represents a central aspect of the book’s plan as well as enticing the potential reader (and book purchaser, of course) with its captivating image.  As Will Carleton explains in the last section of the book, “After-words”, under the heading “Title and plan of book”:

               “In the course of a number of weeks’ travel each year up and down the country, in the intervals of other work, lecturing, reading, “orating,” etc., I have several times been “drifted in” on trains; and have in such cases seen some very instructive and diverting phases of human nature.  The environment of railroad-life has a character of its own, full of interest: for The World Away from Home is in many respects different from what it is within the precincts of its local bounds.  Especially is this the case under abnormal conditions, as of a train being “stalled” for a few hours, or, as sometimes occurs, for days at a time.”

Over the course of this 136 page poem, the narrator relates a cross country train journey in jogging tetrameter couplets.  The main narrative is interrupted by 34 “incidental” poems, in a variety of meters and rhyme schemes, either told by the narrator as sounds or scenes of the journey inspire him, or by various passengers.  About a third of the way through, the train halts:

“But sounds of the engine’s steam-whirled mill
               Came not to my couch; the wheels below,
That had shaken car and track, were still,
               And nought except footsteps to and fro
The lengths of the curtained aisle, was heard,
With now and then an impatient word,
Less welcome that e’en the loudest din—
Informing us we were “drifted in”!”

After a great deal of confusion the passengers begin to gather together and tell stories, with the narrator introducing each and providing further description and commentary on their plight.  

“Frowned on us the storms white face once more,
With sterner menaces than before;
(Thus—to his sorrow—a punster sinned:
“It’s merely getting its second wind!”)”

Finally it’s over …

“The morning broke with a cloudless sun,
               And all was merry to our glad sight:
The mountains of drifted snow had gone
     Enough to release us from our plight.
There came two rescuing engines near:
The storm was over—the track was clear!”

… and the book ends.

Considering the theme of the journey with interpolated stories from various travelers, I can’t help but wonder if Carleton had in mind a homespun “Canter-buried Tales”.

William McKendree Carleton, poet, journalist, editor, and lecturer, was born October 21, 1845 in Hudson, Michigan and died December 18, 1912 in Brooklyn, New York (1).  As a poet, he was enormously popular in the late 19th and early 20th century, though he is seldom read now.  His poetry was sentimental and humorous, and dealt with the lives of ordinary people, most successfully in his poetry of rural life.  His most successful book was his first, Farm Ballads, published by Harper & Brothers in 1873.  This first book by a relatively unknown poet (his poems had only been published in newspapers and other periodicals to that time) was a phenomenon and highly successful financially, selling over 20,000 copies in the year of publication.  Other volumes in the same vein were Farm Legends (1875) and Farm Festivals (1881) both published by Harper.  He also wrote a similar urban series: City Ballads (1885), City Legends (1889), and City Festivals (1892), all published by Harper and kept continually in print for decades.  In September, 1894, Carleton began his monthly magazine Every Where, “a monthly periodical devoted to poems, short stories and timely topics.” (2)  Carleton himself contributed many of the articles and poems published in the Every Where.  With the magazine Carleton also founded the Every Where Publishing Company in Brooklyn, New York.  In addition to Every Where magazine, the Every Where Company published 21 books or pamphlets between 1901 and 1913.  Both enterprises ended shortly after his death in early 1913.  

After looking at images of most of Every Where Pub. Co.’s output, this book struck me as an anomaly.  Putting aside the pamphlets, their book work looks plain and amateurish.  A representative example is Ralph Kent Buckland’s In the Land of the Filipino (1912). 

The cloth color is an unattractive green rib cloth and the lettering is wildly disjointed, which a closer view makes more obvious.

I can only find two decorated covers besides Drifted In.  The design on one of them is garish and unattractive in so many ways.  The third is modestly decorated with three lyres and wreaths, and has a similar weird lettering combination.

I particularly wonder about that dangling bead serif on the right side of the "Y" in "BY" ...

So what happened to make the cover of Drifted In so strikingly dissimilar from any other publication put out by Every Where Publishing Company?

Enter Moffat and Yard.

William David Moffat (1866-1946) and Robert Sterling Yard (1861-1945) were both Princeton graduates who worked for Charles Scribner's Sons, Moffat as business manager of Scribner's Magazine, and Yard as manager of book advertising for the company.  In 1905 they announced that they would forming a general book, picture and periodical publishing business in New York. (3)  From the beginning it was obvious that they would be publishing attractive books; and it was also obvious that they would be using skilled and respected artists for their books.  Their first published book was Richard Barry’s Port Arthur: a Monster Heroism, featuring a signed cover design by the Decorative Designers; in fact, between 1905 and 1908 (and perhaps after) the firm did numerous covers for Moffat, Yard and Company, mostly signed, but with others so much in the Decorative Designers style that the covers can be attributed them with some confidence. 

In 1907, Moffat, Yard asked Carleton to write a poem to correspond with illustrations already made by James Montgomery Flagg.  Carleton sent them “In Old School Days” which was published with floral signed endpapers by the Decorative Designers, and an unsigned cover design and decorations probably also by them. (4)

In 1908 Drifted In was also published by Moffat, Yard in addition to the “edition” by Every Where Pub. Co.  

An image of the Moffat, Yard cover, cruelly barcoded.

Here are the two title pages, the image on the left from the Every Where Publishing Company, that on the right from Moffat Yard.

Note that the title pages are identical, other than the places of publication and publishers' names.  The fonts used for the imprints are identical, so the question is, who produced the book?  It seems obvious that Moffat, Yard produced all copies of Drifted In, adjusting the imprints for each publisher on the title page and spine.  

A final oddity is the publisher's mark on both title pages.  From other books published by the firm, the mark is identifiable as Every Where's.  Why Moffat, Yard also included it on their title page is unknown.
By October 1907, Every Where magazine was advertising Drifted In as “Ready December 1”.  The cover was described immediately below the book’s availability as “Handsomely bound in silk … with magnificent special design—uniform with his other works.  Illustrated by famous artists.”  Interestingly the edition size is also mentioned:

“The first edition will be limited to applications received; that is, only a sufficient number of copies will be printed to fill advance orders.  As first edition copies are most highly prized—ORDER TODAY—copies for yourself and your friends.”

Advertisement from Every Where magazine, October, 1907, for Drifted In, with a second ad from the preceding page which I couldn't resist including.

I’m not sure what was meant by “uniform with [Carleton’s] other works” as the design is unique.  Size is a possibility though other titles, such as Farm Ballads, are larger while others, such as Rhymes of Our Planet are smaller.  Perhaps this was just meant to play on the seeming human need to collect sets?  And what are we to make of the “first edition” information?  Does this mean that “first editions” were the books with the imprint of Every Where?  Was the number of copies printed with that imprint limited to the number of “advance orders” received by the time the book appeared in December?  When did the Moffat, Yard copies first appear relative to the Every Where copies?   Or is it simply the equivalent of today’s “this price is only available to the first five hundred callers?”

For those who can’t get enough of the Decorative Designers, this book provides another treat.  The advertisement mentions that Drifted In is “illustrated by famous artists,” and the book does include nine illustrations—a color frontispiece and 8 black and white plates.  Three of the illustrations are unsigned, three are signed “Wm. Oberhardt”, and three are signed with the DD monogram of the Decorative Designers.  William Oberhardt (1882-1958) was an American artist, portrait painter, illustrator, and sculptor.  He was widely known and very popular in the 1920s and 1930s in the United States, so these illustrations came from early in his career when he was establishing his reputation.  Who among the Decorative Designers produced the three DD illustrations we don't know, but they demonstrate that the firm could do much more than cover designs. 

Happy Holidays!

(1) Carleton portrait from Amos Elwood Corning’s Will Carleton: a Biographical Study.  New York: Lanmere Publishing Company, 1917.
(2) Corning, p. 68.
(3)  Tebbel, John.  A History of Book Publishing in the United States.  New York: R.R. Bowker, 1975.  Vol. 2, p. 378-9.
(4)  Corning, p. 70


Free Coffee in Jackson Library!

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 14:54:00 +0000

Good Luck on Exams!

Free Coffee in Jackson Library:

Tuesday, December 6
Wednesday, December 7
Thursday, December 8

Deliveries at 9 pm and midnight

Bring your own mug!

Sponsored by the Friends of the University Libraries, Student Government and Campus Activities and Programs

Books Are Fun

Conservation Storage Boxes

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 19:26:00 +0000

Libraries and archives make use of protective enclosures to safeguard their collections. We are not different from any other library or archive. Through the years the Preservation Services has custom created several different types of storage boxes for a large array of items in our collections.

Going from a simple phase box:

To an artistic designed clamshell box, integrating conservation principles, design, shape and the item format. 

Size and format is not a barrier to our creativity:

These archival storage are supposed to work as a barrier against acidic materials and to add extra support against further damage. Before buying your archival storage, carefully do research on their components. Make sure they meet conservation standards for the specific materials you will store. This will reinforce the durability and protection of your collection.

For more information on how to do your own conservation boxes, check our tutorials, in three different languages, at:

UNCG Libraries Diversity and Inclusion Blog

Diversity and Global Engagement Expo: Building Intercultural Connections

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 21:20:00 +0000

Date: Thursday, February 16, 2017
Time: 2:00-5:00pm
Location: Jackson Library Reading Room, 1st Floor

Join UNCG faculty and staff in conversation promoting the importance of diversity and multiculturalism on campus! Lead by Dr. Omar Ali at 4pm.

Friends of the UNCG Libraries

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.

Ray Suarez Announced as Guest Speaker for UNCG’s Friends of the Library Annual Dinner on March 29

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 22:01:00 +0000

Ray Suarez will be the guest speaker at this year’s UNCG Friends of the Library annual dinner on March 29. He is the author of three critically-acclaimed books including, Latino Americans: The 500-Year Legacy that Shaped a Nation, The Holy Vote: The Politics of Faith in America and The Old Neighborhood: What We Lost in the Great Suburban Migration. Suarez engages audiences, even on difficult and complex topics, with a warm and accessible style, while his presentations are passionate, quick-witted and establish a strong connection to listeners.

Tickets, which include dinner, are $60 for members and $70 for nonmembers. Tickets for the program, only, are $20. Table sponsorships are available for $650 and include eight tickets, preferential seating and recognition at the event. The event will be held in the Elliott University Center’s Cone Ballroom at 6 p.m. Reservations are required and tickets will be available soon. For more information about sponsoring a table, contact Hollie Stevenson-Parrish at 336-256-0184 or

New DVDs at UNCG

Check-in to see which new DVDs are hitting the shelves in Jackson Library!

New DVDs

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 19:10:00 +0000

The wild life

Hands of stone

Pete's dragon

Don't breathe

The librarians. Season one
Game of thrones. The complete sixth season
Ripper Street. Season three
Outlander. Season two
Poldark. The complete second season
Better call Saul. Season two

North Carolina Literary Map Blog

Happy January!

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 16:00:00 +0000

January is here!  Snow coats fields and houses in a hushed landscape of wintry wonder.  Icicles drip from the edges of roofs and hillsides.  For many, the bitter cold is sufficient reason to stay indoors and enjoy a good book by a warm fire.  The NC Literary Map has several winter-themed and snow-themed titles.

Award-winning author John Marsden Ehle writes a compelling novel about a 1930s rural Appalachian community and its tight-knit families in "The Winter People".  Romance writer Cheryl Reavis describes a mother and daughter on a journey to discover their past in the NC mountains in "Blackberry Winter".  Finally, prolific children's author William Harris Hooks retells a version of "Beauty and the Beast" set in the Great Smoky Mountains in "Snowbear Whittington".

Interested in learning more?  Then check out these books at your local library or bookstore!  Happy reading!  Hope ya'll enjoy this time of year!


UNCG Special Collections & University Archives

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.

The Connection between Hidden Figures and UNCG

Fri, 06 Jan 2017 13:47:00 +0000

If you're going to see the new movie Hidden Figures, you might not realize the connection between the "human computers" in that movie and UNCG. The film focuses on three African American women who worked as "human computers" during the 1950s and 1960s. But one of the very first human computers hired by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA, precursor to NASA) was alumna Virginia Tucker (class of 1930). Tucker earned a B.A. in mathematics and a minor in education from the institution that was then known as North Carolina College for Women. After four years of teaching, she took the Civil Service exam and earned an appointment at the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory (now Langley Research Center) in Virginia.

Tucker was one of five women who began work in September 1935 as Langley's first "Computer Pool." NACA did not have modern electrical computers, but instead relied on the work of "human computers," a pool of female mathematicians. These women were tasked with processing the huge amounts of data coming in from wind tunnel and flight tests. Using slide rules, charts, and her deep mathematical knowledge, Tucker and the other "human computers" performed intricate calculations that enabled NACA engineers to design and perfect airplanes. By 1946, Tucker had advanced to the position of Overall Supervisor for Computing at Langley, and she was tasked with managing a department of over 400 women in computing sections across the laboratory facility.

Tucker in the 1930 Pine Needles yearbook

You can read more about Tucker in this wonderful article in the Greensboro News & Record or follow up with more detail in this Spartan Stories blog post from 2015.

UNCG Special Collections & University Archives

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!

1895 photograph of builders working near Brick Dormitory.Brick...

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 10:00:29 -0500

1895 photograph of builders working near Brick Dormitory.

Brick Dormitory, designed by Epps & Hackett of Greensboro, North Carolina, opened in 1892 and was one of the original buildings and primary dormitory. Also known as the matron’s hall or the living building, it was a three story structure was built in stages. By 1895 it included a kitchen, an infirmary room, and a dining hall that held 150 students. A final wing was added at the rear of the building to add more student rooms and larger dining and kitchen facilities. The dormitory was destroyed by fire on January 20, 1904, with all of the residents escaping unharmed.

Spartan Stories

Tales from the University Archives at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro

The Rise of Campus Dramatics (Part III): The Raymond Taylor Years

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 14:00:00 +0000

Raymond Taylor
The most significant event to happen to early campus dramatics was the arrival of Raymond Taylor, who joined the English Department in 1921 as a professor of speech. He would go on to become the school’s Director of Drama for the next thirty years. Taylor was a very qualified hire, having a Bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Master’s degree from Harvard. Although College president Julius Foust was not convinced that dramatics should be included in the school’s official curriculum, Taylor was eventually allowed to teach courses in theatre production and playwriting, as well as speech. Foust also was not supportive of the female students dressing in pants, even for theatre productions, but Taylor purchased men’s suits for the young women to wear when they were playing male roles. He pushed the rules even further when he allowed students to smoke cigarettes on stage, an activity strictly forbidden by the College.

Under Taylor’s guidance, the Dramatic Club became The Dramatic Association of the North Carolina College for Women (now The University of North Carolina at Greensboro) and finally, in 1924, the Playlikers, which became the only campus organization allowed to perform plays. That year, the students performed five plays featuring both students and faculty. In 1925, the students took one of their production, Will-o’-the-Wisp, to Chicago for the National College Theatre Tournament and won second place. Taylor also accompanied his students to New York to see plays featuring famous stars, such as Ethel Barrymore, and to visit sites such as the Metropolitan Museum, the Aquarium, and the Statue of Liberty. In 1926, the Playlikers first performed plays written by students, specifically, a tragedy titled The Quick and the Dead, set in Eastern North Carolina, and a comedy titled Sims.  Taylor also established the Masqueraders, an honorary dramatic society.

The Playlikers Try on Costumes for a Campus Production

Eventually, the Playlikers would include not only students, but also members of the community in their productions. This added much-needed male participants to the all-girl school performances, now held at Aycock Auditorium (currently UNCG Auditorium).  By the 1930s, the students were offering one play per month to audiences of over 2000 people. Perhaps recognizing that his students lacked proper stage elocution, Taylor requested that the College add two speech specialists to the faculty. He commented that his students showed “nasality, lisping, harshness, weak and thin voice texture, lack of breath control, sameness and monotony of tone, drawling and stuttering, exaggerated and disagreeable sectional accents, nervous rapidity, faulty enunciation and pronunciation, [and] affected elocution.”

The Parkway Playhouse
The venue for campus programs expanded in 1941 when an amphitheater was constructed as part of a Works Project Administration (WPA) project. It had a seating capacity of 2500 people and included an outdoor stage to be used for May Day celebrations, plays, and pageants. Additionally, the 1940s ushered in a summer repertory program which would eventually move to the small town of Burnsville, North Carolina. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the theatre would be called the “Parkway Playhouse.” 

The Taylor Theatre
In the late 1940s, Taylor began to lose control of the program, and a growing lack of student interest caused the Playlikers organization to “disintegrate.” Finally, in 1949, the faculty advisory committee recommended that the College hire a new director of Dramatics, and Raymond Taylor, once considered the father of the school’s Dramatic program, was removed from leadership. Although he had less administrative responsibilities, Taylor continued to teach until his retirement in 1960, and when a new theatre was constructed on campus in 1967, it was named in his honor.

UNCG's Dataland

UNCG's land of data releases, new data sources, fun stats information, and much more!

Introduction to R for Data Analysis

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 16:19:00 +0000

The Statistical Consulting Center will host an intro to R workshop. 

Date: Friday, January 20, 2017
Time: 2:00-5:00pm
Location: Petty 219
  • R interfaces
  • Installing packages
  • Introduction to R syntax
  • Reading data
  • Data manipulation
  • Creating summary statistics
  • Simple plots
  • Basic statistical analysis.

Prerequisites: No previous experience using R is required. Participants must have a laptop with wireless internet access, able to install and run the R program.

Instructor: Scott Richter, UNCG Statistical Consulting Center.