Books Will Speak Plain is published at a time when the historical book is at risk of being ignored, put away, and forgotten. This handbook combines an overview of the history of the codex with basic information about many of the materials and structures found on historical bindings. The book also includes description-survey guidelines and is supported by a variety of appendices. The text is illustrated by 387 images, and on the accompanying DVD, there are about 1,500 color images that represent structural and decorative elements from a variety of bindings made before 1900. The book’s focus on non-luxury bindings adds depth to an often-neglected segment of bookbinding history.
Preservation is at the heart of Books Will Speak Plain. We have already lost too many historical bindings because their importance was not understood and appreciated. This book is a call to action to urge custodians of every kind of historical book collection – public and private – to assess the physical character of the historical bindings in their care and record the changes that have accrued to those bindings during their passage through time.
This award-winning book is a resource that has been used to recognize binding variations that have long been overlooked and to document such bindings for future scholars. Bibliophiles, bookbinders, curators, private collectors, librarians, cataloguers, antiquarian booksellers, book-history scholars, and conservators have found Books Will Speak Plain an invaluable reference.
The second edition features a new section about early canvas bindings, and additional images have been added to the book and DVD.
Photography by J. Wayne Jones, and drawings by Pamela Spitzmueller.