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Bound for Beauty: Highlights from the Kathleen V. Roberts Collection of Decorated Publishers' Bindings

In the 19th century technologies of the Industrial Revolution made the mass-production of books possible. To sell them, publishers produced beautifully decorated book covers known as decorated publishers’ bindings. Books were bound in colorful cloth and elaborately decorated with silver and gold reflecting the tastes of the age.
Publishers’ use of color, style, and design was affected by major social events such as the Civil War, the opening of Japan to the West, and the employment of women, and visual influences such as Victorian opulence, Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau, and Art Deco movements.
When viewed by decade we see the arc of publishers’ bindings: from their experimental beginnings in the 1840’s, through their turn-of-the-century apex as artist-designed masterworks, to their demise with the rise of the inexpensive dust jacket.

Acknowledgements
Sue Allen​ (d. 25 August 2011), whose writings, research, and especially her teaching, created the field of study of nineteenth-century American book covers. Her Rare Book School course “Publishers’ Bookbindings, 1830–1910,” was the inspiration for both this collection and exhibit. I am honored to carry on her work.
Todd Pattison​, Rare Book School instructor, book conservator and binder, whose 1995 course on early cloth bindings changed the trajectory of my life.
Richard Minsky​, collector, author and book artist, who taught me to look at binding design through the eyes of an artist.
Andrea Krupp​, for her pioneering work on the study and identification of Bookcloth grains and patterns.
Ben Koenig​, Vermont bookseller and friend, whose belief in my collection enabled it to find a home at the American Bookbinders Museum.
-Kathy Roberts
Poems / William Cullen Bryant
Poems / William Cullen Bryant
Book
Reviewers Reviewed: A Satire / by the author of Pelayo
Reviewers Reviewed: A Satire / by the author of Pelayo
Book
Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow / Washington Irving
Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow / Washington Irving
Book
Scenes of Clerical Life / George Eliot
Scenes of Clerical Life / George Eliot
Book
Sie: Reznicek-Album / Ferdinand Von Reznicek
Sie: Reznicek-Album / Ferdinand Von Reznicek
Book
Tales of the Punjab Told by the People / Flora Annie Steel
Tales of the Punjab Told by the People / Flora Annie Steel
Book
The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table / Oliver Wendell Holmes
The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table / Oliver Wendell Holmes
Book
The Backwoods Boy; Or, The Boyhood and Manhood of Abraham Lincoln / Horatio Alger
The Backwoods Boy; Or, The Boyhood and Manhood of Abraham Lincoln / Horatio Alger
Book
The Blue Flower / Henry Van Dyke
The Blue Flower / Henry Van Dyke
Book
The Cloister and the Hearth / Charles Reade
The Cloister and the Hearth / Charles Reade
Book
The Complete Poetical Works of William Wordsworth, Late Poet Laureate / William Wordsworth
The Complete Poetical Works of William Wordsworth, Late Poet Laureate / William Wordsworth
Book
The Faerie Queene / Edmund Spenser
The Faerie Queene / Edmund Spenser
Book
The Golden Key: Stories of Deliverance / Henry Van Dyke
The Golden Key: Stories of Deliverance / Henry Van Dyke
Book
The Ice Maiden / Hans Christian Andersen
The Ice Maiden / Hans Christian Andersen
Book
The Kindred of the Wild: A Book of Animal Life / Charles G.D. Roberts
The Kindred of the Wild: A Book of Animal Life / Charles G.D. Roberts
Book
The Love of Azalea / Onoto Watanna
The Love of Azalea / Onoto Watanna
Book
The Marble Faun; Or, The Romance of Monte Beni / Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Marble Faun; Or, The Romance of Monte Beni / Nathaniel Hawthorne
Book
The Master
The Master's Violin / Myrtle Reed
Book
The Most Delectable History of Reynard the Fox
The Most Delectable History of Reynard the Fox
Book
The Mystics: A Novel / Katherine Cecil Thurston
The Mystics: A Novel / Katherine Cecil Thurston
Book
The Open Road: A Little Book for Wayfarers / E.V. Lucas
The Open Road: A Little Book for Wayfarers / E.V. Lucas
Book
The Poetic New World: A Little Book For Tourists / Lucy H. Humphrey
The Poetic New World: A Little Book For Tourists / Lucy H. Humphrey
Book
The Poetic Old-World: A Little Book for Tourists / Lucy H. Humphrey
The Poetic Old-World: A Little Book for Tourists / Lucy H. Humphrey
Book
The Poetical Works of Alexander Pope. With Life / Alexander Pope
The Poetical Works of Alexander Pope. With Life / Alexander Pope
Book
The Poetical Works of Lord Byron. Illustrated / Lord Byron
The Poetical Works of Lord Byron. Illustrated / Lord Byron
Book
The Poetical Works of Owen Meredith / Owen Meredith
The Poetical Works of Owen Meredith / Owen Meredith
Book
The Poetical Works of Sir Walter Scott / Sir Walter Scott
The Poetical Works of Sir Walter Scott / Sir Walter Scott
Book
The Poetical Works of Sir Walter Scott With Life by William Chambers, LL.D. / Sir Walter Scott
The Poetical Works of Sir Walter Scott With Life by William Chambers, LL.D. / Sir Walter Scott
Book
The Poetical Works of Thomas Moore / Thomas Moore
The Poetical Works of Thomas Moore / Thomas Moore
Book
The Poetical Works of Thomas Moore, With Explanatory Notes, Etc. / Thomas Moore
The Poetical Works of Thomas Moore, With Explanatory Notes, Etc. / Thomas Moore
Book
The Poetical Works of William Cowper / William Cowper
The Poetical Works of William Cowper / William Cowper
Book
The Ring and the Book / Robert Browning
The Ring and the Book / Robert Browning
Book
The Ruling Passion / Henry Van Dyke
The Ruling Passion / Henry Van Dyke
Book
The Song of the Wave, and Other Poems / George Cabot Lodge
The Song of the Wave, and Other Poems / George Cabot Lodge
Book
The Story of a Bad Boy / Thomas Bailey Aldrich
The Story of a Bad Boy / Thomas Bailey Aldrich
Book
The Strife of the Sea / T. Jenkins Haines
The Strife of the Sea / T. Jenkins Haines
Book
The Tent on the Beach and Dramatic Lyrics / John Greenleaf Whittier
The Tent on the Beach and Dramatic Lyrics / John Greenleaf Whittier
Book
The Two Altheas / Edith E. Horsman
The Two Altheas / Edith E. Horsman
Book
The Valley of Vision / Henry Van Dyke
The Valley of Vision / Henry Van Dyke
Book
The White Shield / Myrtle Reed
The White Shield / Myrtle Reed
Book
The Young Maiden
The Young Maiden's Mirror / by the author of "The Child's Keepsake"
Book
Tiverton Tales / Alice Brown
Tiverton Tales / Alice Brown
Book
Told in the Hills / Marah Ellis Ryan
Told in the Hills / Marah Ellis Ryan
Book
Travels Into Several Remote Nations of the World / Lemuel Gulliver
Travels Into Several Remote Nations of the World / Lemuel Gulliver
Book
Turrets, Towers, and Temples As Seen and Described By Famous Writers / Esther Singleton
Turrets, Towers, and Temples As Seen and Described By Famous Writers / Esther Singleton
Book
Unknown Switzerland: Reminiscences of Travel / Victor Tissot
Unknown Switzerland: Reminiscences of Travel / Victor Tissot
Book
Unter Vier Augen: Reznicek-Album / Ferdinand von Reznicek
Unter Vier Augen: Reznicek-Album / Ferdinand von Reznicek
Book
Venetian Life: With Illustrations From Original Water Colors / William Dean Howells
Venetian Life: With Illustrations From Original Water Colors / William Dean Howells
Book
Wonders of Nature As Seen and Described By Great Writers / Esther Singleton
Wonders of Nature As Seen and Described By Great Writers / Esther Singleton
Book
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