« PreviousContinue »
In all periodicals,-magazines and serials of every kind, -the covers and their advertisements should be bound in their proper place, with each month or number of the periodical, though it may interrupt the continuity of the paging. Thus will be preserved valuable contemporary records respecting prices, bibliographical information, etc., which should never be destroyed, as it is illustrative of the life and history of the period. The covers of the magazines, too, frequently contain the table of contents of the number, which of course must be prefixed to it, in order to be of
If advertising pages are very numerous and bulky, (as in many popular periodicals of late years) they may well be bound at the end of the volume, or, if so many as to make the volume excessively thick, they might be bound in a supplementary volume. In all books, half-titles or bastard titles, as they are called, should be bound in, as they are a part of the book.
With each lot of books to be bound, there should always be sent a sample volume of good work as a pattern, that the binder may have no excuse for hasty or inferior workmanship.
The Grolier Club was founded in New York in 1884, having for its objects to promote the literary study and progress of the arts pertaining to the production of books. It has published more than twenty books in sumptuous style, and mostly in quarto form, the editions being limited to 150 copies at first, since increased to 300, under the rapidly enlarging membership of the Club. Most of these books relate to fine binding, fine printing, or fine illustration of books, or are intended to exemplify them, and by their means, by lectures, and exhibitions of fine book-work, this society has contributed much toward the diffusion of correct taste. More care has been bestowed upon fine binding in New York than in London itself. In fact, elegant book-binding is coming to be recognized as one of the foremost of the decorative arts.
The art of designing book-covers and patterns for gilding books has engaged the talents of many artists, among whom may be named Edwin A. Abbey, Howard Pyle, Stanford White, and Elihu Vedder. Nor have skilful designs been wanting among women, as witness Mrs. Whitman's elegant tea-leaf border for the cover of Dr. O. W. Holmes's “Over the Tea-cups,” and Miss Alice Morse's arabesques and medallions for Lafcadio Hearn's "Two Years in the French West Indies." Miss May Morris designed many tasteful letters for the fine bindings executed by Mr. Cobden-Sanderson of London, and Kate Greenaway's many exquisite little books for little people have become widely known for their quaint and curious cover designs. A new field thus opens for skilled cultivators of the beautiful who have an eye for the art of drawing.
Mr. William Matthews, the accomplished New York binder, in an address before the Grolier Club in 1895, said: "I have been astonished that so few women-in America, I know none—are encouragers of the art; they certainly could not bestow their taste on anything that would do them more credit, or as a study, give them more satisfaction.” It is but fair to add that since this judgment was put forth, its implied reproach is no longer applicable: a number of American women have interested themselves in the study of binding as a fine art; and some few in practical work as binders of books.
There is no question that readers take a greater interest in books that are neatly and attractively bound, than in volumes dressed in a mean garb. No book owner or librarian with any knowledge of the incurable defects of calf, sheep, or roan leather, if he has any regard for the usefulness or the economies of his library, will use them in binding books that are to possess permanent value in personal or public use. True economy lies in employing the best description of binding in the first instance.
When it is considered that the purposed object of bookbinding is to preserve in a shape at once attractive and permanent, the best and noblest thoughts of man, it rises to a high rank among the arts. Side by side with printing, it strives after that perfection which shall ensure the perpetuity of human thought. Thus a book, clothed in morocco, is not a mere piece of mechanism, but a vehicle in which the intellectual life of writers no longer on earth is transmitted from age to age. And it is the art of bookbinding which renders libraries possible. What the author, the printer, and the binder create, the library takes charge of and preserves. It is thus that the material and the practical link themselves indissolubly with the ideal. And the ideal of every true librarian should be so to care for the embodiments of intelligence entrusted to his guardianship, that they may become in the highest degree useful to mankind. In this sense, the care bestowed upon thorough and enduring binding can hardly be overrated, since the life of the book depends upon it.
PREPARATION FOR THE SHELVES: Book PLATES, ETC.
When any lot of books is acquired, whether by purchase from book-dealers or from auction, or by presentation, the first step to be taken, after seeing that they agree with the bill, and have been collated, in accordance with methods elsewhere given, should be to stamp and label each volume, as the property of the library. These two processes are quite distinct, and may be performed by one or two persons, according to convenience, or to the library force employed. The stamp may be the ordinary rubber one, inked by striking on a pad, and ink of any color may be used, although black or blue ink has the neatest appearance. The stamp should bear the name of the library, in clear, legible, plain type, with year of acquisition of the book in the centre, followed by the month and day if desired. A more permanent kind of stamp is the embossing stamp, which is a steel die, the letters cut in relief, but it is very expensive and slow, requiring the leaf to be inserted between the two parts of the stamp, though the impression, once made, is practically indelible.
The size of the stamp (which is preferably oval in shape) should not exceed 14 to 14 inches in diameter, as a large, coarse stamp never presents a neat appearance on a book. Indeed, many books are too small to admit any but a stamp of very
moderate dimensions. The books should be stamped on the verso (reverse) of the title page, or if preferred, on the widest unprinted portion of the title-page, preferably on the right hand of the centre, or just below the centre on the right. This, because its impression is far more legible on the plain white surface than on any part of the printed title. In a circulating library, the stamps should be impressed on one or more pages in the body of the book, as well as on the last page, as a means of identification if the book is stolen or otherwise lost; as it is very easy to erase the impression of a rubber stamp from the title-page, and thereby commit a fraud by appropriating or selling the book. In such a case, the duplicate or triplicate impression of the stamp on some subsequent page (say page 5 or 16, many books having but few pages) as fixed upon by the librarian, is quite likely to escape notice of the thief, while it remains a safe-guard, enabling the librarian to reclaim the book, wherever found. The law will enforce this right of free reclamation in favor of a public library, in the case of stolen books, no matter in what hands found, and even though the last holder may be an innocent purchaser. All libraries are victimized at some time by unscrupulous or dishonest readers, who will appropriate books, thinking themselves safe from detection, and sometimes easing their consciences, (if they have any) by the plea that the book is in a measure public property.
In these cases, there is no absolute safe-guard, as it is easy to carry off a book under one's coat, and the librarian and his few aids are far too busy to act as detectives in watching readers. Still, a vigilant librarian will almost always find out, by some suspicious circumstance—such as the hiding of books away, or a certain furtive action observed in a reader—who are the persons that should be watched, and when it is advisable to call in the policeman.
The British Museum Library, which has no circulation or book lending, enforces a rule that no one making his exit can have a book with him, unless checked as his own property, all overcoats and other wraps being of course checked at the door.