This week in class we went over edition bindings, and looked at some example books with these type of bindings.
Edition binding came about around the mid-18th century, and is when an entire edition of a book has all of the same binding, which is how commercial book binding is still mostly done today.
We then went on to look at many books that have edition bindings, and tried to identify in pairs the different materials and styles for each of the books. Professor Neuman talked about how embossed leather tends to be made out of a very cheap type of leather, and books bounded this way tend to have many different textures on the binding because of the embossing. We also talked about how leather books in the machine press period are harder to identify; however leather tends to get pretty worn at the spine, corners, and edges of the book, which can be used to identify the binding as leather. Professor Neuman discussed how embossing replaces tooling, and uses wood-blocks that are pressed on the cover to create the impression of stylistic designs that reflect ones similar to those that were achieved by tooling during the hand-press period. She also mentioned how book design changes at a much faster rate than the structure, materials, and design during the machine-press period.
We looked at a volume from a two volume set of John Dryden plays, which had slipped in the back of the book a playbill for Edwin Booth’s performance in Richard III from the late 1800s. I found this to be very interesting, considering the fact that the playbill suggests something about the book’s provenance, and raises the issue of how this is to be noted in the descriptive bibliography, and whether or not it would be cataloged separately. Professor Neuman ultimately reached the conclusion that this something that would be cataloged separate.