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Grolier Club Exhibitions

Eighteenth & Nineteenth Centuries

Joseph Paul von Cobres.  Deliciae Cobresianae: J. P. Cobres Büchersammlung zur Naturgeschichte.  Augsburg: Johann Andreas Brinhausser, 1782.    

Cobres, an Italo-German banker, produced this two-volume catalogue of his extensive collection in natural history, and sponsored its printing.  It is issued as it emerged from the printer’s: in wrappers of speckled brown paper printed after the fashion of a permanent binding.  He donated this set to a scientific scholar, who retained this set as issued, leaving us this surviving witness.   

Gift of Dr. & Mrs. Le Roy Crummer, 1928. 

Cat. no. 4.26.

Jean-Jacques Gautier.  Jean Le Noir, ou Le Misanthrope.  Paris, 1791. 

For centuries, purchasers obtained their new books in this kind of guise: simple wrappers holding the gatherings of the bookblock together until taken to a bookbinder for a sturdy binding.  Few such wrappers survive.  Blue paper was a frequent 18th-century material for this purpose, often called sugar paper from its use as cones to hold sugar for sale. 

Purchased on funds provided by Caroline Schimmel, 2020. 

Cat. no. 4.32.

Kalendario Manual y Guia de Forasteros en Madrid para el Año de mdcclxxxii.  Bound with Estado Militar de España Año de 1782.  Madrid: Imprenta Real de la Gazeta, 1782. 

This Spanish binding of white kid is heavily decorated with polychrome mosaic onlays and portrait inserts of a man and a woman in “Oriental” attire.  It is very likely the work of father and son Antonio and Gabriel de Sancha, in Madrid. 

Gift of Samuel Putnam Avery, Jr., 1918. 

Cat. no. 4.25.

Private library catalogue (French manuscript).  Lyon (?), ca. 1752. 

The substantial, originally blank-paper single gathering is sewn into a wallet-shaped binding of heavy vellum in the shape of an elongated envelope, the triangular flap secured with a wraparound strap.  Such ledger bindings, once widespread, were intended for portability and out-of-doors use.  The ink splatters testify to its frequent casual use; many of the books were printed in Lyon and 1752 is the latest publication date. 

Purchased on the Trust Fund of Lathrop Colgate Harper, 2020. 

Cat. no. 4.9.

Christliche Gebete zu allgemeiner Kirchen- und Hauss-Andacht sammt Geistreichen Gesängen D. Martini Lutheri, und anderer gottseligen Christen.  Germany, 18th century. 

A sturdy binding of vellum in polychrome décor featuring the “Star of Bethlehem” protects this anonymous collection of Christian prayers for church and home.  Comparable 18th-century works and bindings survive in Germany, and such volumes were also exported to German Protestant communities in America.   

Gift of Samuel Putnam Avery, 1891. 

Cat. no. 4.38.

Samuel Rogers.  The Pleasures of Memory, and Other Poems, … and  

Robert Merry, The Pains of Memory.  New York: Evert Duyckinck, 1808. 

This American sheepskin covering is called a run marble binding, inspired by the striations of rock formations, sometimes also called Prussian marble or Spanish marble.  The style flourished in the 1820s and 1830s in New England and the Middle Atlantic states, on books printed in the first three decades of the 19th century. 

Purchased on the Trust Fund of Lathrop Colgate Harper, 2021. 

Cat. no. 5.14.

J. McDonald.  The Rainbow.  1847.  Albany: A. L. Harrison & New York: Gould and Bell, 1847.

This polychrome tan calf is a Patent Stereographic Binding, registered by William McAdam and created by Anthony L. Harrison in this same year.  It features colored stampings by inked wooden blocks, producing the appearance of leather onlays.  It is quite imaginative, contrasting favorably with the average commercial binding of the era. 

Gift of H. George Fletcher, 2018. 

Cat. no. 5.17.

Charles Malo.  Les Capitales de l’Europe: Promenades pittoresques.  Paris: Marcilly, 1829. 

This boxed assemblage comprises eight thin volumes in embossed cartonnage bindings covered in papier porcelaine, with hand-colored engraved illustrations.  Each covering is in a pastel color: rose pink Paris, cream white London, pale blue St. Petersburg, tan Vienna, lime green Rome, violet Berlin, white Madrid, and buff Constantinople. 

Purchased on the Trust Fund of Lathrop Colgate Harper, 2020. 

Cat. no. 5.11.

Sir Thomas Malory.  Le Morte d’Arthur.  London: Dent, 1893. 

This is an unused publisher’s case binding, customarily affixed by adhesive to strong endpapers and with other reinforcements, but not actually bound in by sewing.  In 1893 the Club asked publishers at home and abroad for samples of their commercial bindings, and this is one of the responses. 

Gift of J. M. Dent & Co, 1893. 

Cat. no. 5.41.

Homer.  Iliad & Odyssey (Greek), and other works.  London: William Pickering, 1821–1831. 

The substantial employment of cloth as a binding covering began in the first half of the 1820s.  This was a new commercial practice, and the bindings were intended for the life of the book.  Ribbed cloth in solid colors, as on these bindings, was one style; pattern-printed cloth was another. 

Gifts of Leonard L. Mackall, 1928; Charles Williston McAlpin, 1932; Oscar A. Morgner, 1920; Amy Sperling in memory of her father Philip Sperling, 2001. 

Cat. no. 5.15.

Giambattista Bodoni.  Manuale Tipografico.  Parma: Bodoni, 1818. 

The publisher’s boards are covered in peach-hued paper, with a printed titling-label.  Normal expectations at the time were that the books would be properly bound in leather, replacing such now-rare survivors.  

Gift of Samuel Putnam Avery, 1894. 

Cat. no. 5.5.

Octave Uzanne.  Vingt Jours dans le Nouveau Monde.  Paris: May & Motteroz, 1894. 

This publisher’s case binding of red diagonal fine-ribbed cloth has been printed in silver and blue to create a 44-star American flag, plus titling.  An early example of such binding décor and style, it has been characterized as proto-Pop Art. 

Purchased on the Trust Fund of Lathrop Colgate Harper, 2021.  

Cat. no. 5.43.