Thursday, December 22, 2011

More Sarah Wyman Whitman

Followers of this blog may recall the earliest known SWW cover, on the 1880 edition of Verses by Susan Coolidge. See the August 28, 2009 entry. Additional examples of her work were posted January 21, 2010.

In 1891 Hawthorne’s Our Old Home was issued by The Riverside Press in a 2-volume limited edition, with 250 copies printed on Riverside Press watermarked paper, in a vellum binding with SWW design in gold.

Sarah Wyman Whitman
Our Old Home by Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Riverside Press, 1891
The same design was used on the Houghton Holiday Edition that year, issued in red and in green silk, in a green paper dust jacket with a different design. This copy is green, with most of the dust jacket intact, and is in the original titled slipcase. The three medallions of Verses have morphed into flowers, and the sense of the overlapping medallions is kept with the leaves and vines in the background.

Houghton Holiday Edition, 1891 

Dust jacket
Houghton Holiday Edition, 1891

Slipcase (left), top of slipcase (right)

Her 1892 cover on Egypt by Martin Brimmer is a striking, elegant design, issued in gold-stamped vellum and brown-stamped suede variants. The suede was green when issued, but most copies have faded to taupe or brown.

 Sarah Wyman Whitman
Egypt by Martin Brimmer
Houghton, Mifflin and Company
The Riverside Press, Cambridge

The same edition in suede

Friday, September 30, 2011

Mid-Manhattan Library event October 27


Next month I will be presenting an illustrated talk on The Art of American Book Covers 1875-1930 in New York City.  The New York Public Library is hosting it.

Mid-Manhattan Library
455 Fifth Avenue
Thursday, October 27 · 6:30pm - 8:30pm

Author @ the Library presents: "The Art of American Book Covers: 1875-1930," with Richard Minsky, the recipient of the 2011 Worldwide Books Award for Publications from the Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA). The book is published by George Braziller, Inc.

click here for the NYPL Event Listing

The author uncovers in his illustrated lecture the world behind a lost art. From ornate floral patterns to cityscapes, the boldest book designs of the Golden Age are gathered. The audience accustomed to today’s more utilitarian bindings will find breathtaking images—gold leaf patterns intricate enough to replicate the shimmer of feathers, forests rendered in rich color and silver, and elegant allusions to Asian art. The diversity and ingenuity of these books will capture the imagination of book lovers and collectors—and anyone who enjoys design. He has selected the most beautifully crafted and influential pieces and Divides these breathtaking designs into distinct categories. He discusses the use of silhouettes, pattern, Oriental influence and more. He also reveals key artists, their signature designs and flourishes, the designs they inspired, and the designs that inspired them.


Map and Directions


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Spun-Yarn, and a "new" Margaret Armstrong

Thomas Watson Ball was an art director at Harper's when this edition of Spun-Yarn was issued. He did use seahorses as a spine element a few years later on Light Freights, and there are some similarities with Ball's lettering styles, but there is not yet enough evidence to give this design a firm attribution. If you have seen any similar designs, please do comment.

[unknown artist]
by Morgan Robertson
Harper, 1898

 The use of horizontal lines for water was not in itself new. For example, Margaret Armstrong used blue lines for Scribner's 1895 edition of Henry Van Dyke's Little Rivers.

Margaret Armstrong
[signed with MA monogram]
Little Rivers
by Henry Van Dyke
Scribner's, 1895

Armstrong had previously done work for Harper's, but they did not allow her to use her monogram. Below is an example that is not in G&E *. It is clearly her work, both the lettering style and the design in gold and "silver" (white metal). Thanks to John Lehner for pointing it out:

Margaret Armstrong

The Christmas Hirelings
by M. E. Braddon
Illustrated by F. H. Townsend
Harper & Brothers, 1894

*   Gullans, Charles and John Espey. Margaret Armstrong and American Trade Bindings. UCLA, 1991.

Friday, July 29, 2011

More Ethel Belle Appel

The binding on Ziska is mis-described in the Stone bibliography* as "dark green patterned cloth," as though it was off-the-shelf material. It actually is signed Ethel Belle Appel cover art, in Art Nouveau/Egyptian Revival style, with her vertical EBA monogram  on the front cover.

If you missed the previous post with EBA covers, click here.

*    Kramer Sidney.  A History of Stone & Kimball and Herbert S. Stone & Co. with a Bibliography of Their Publications 1893-1905. The University of Chicago Press, 1940. [No. 103].

Ethel Belle Appel
by Marie Corelli
Stone & Kimball, 1897

Ethel Belle Appel
Simon Dale
by Anthony Hope
Frederick A. Stokes Company, n.d. ©1897

Below: the dust jacket repeats the design without the sword and medallion.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Barnes & Noble 2012 Desk Diaries

Lovers of American publishers' bindings might want to look at the Barnes & Noble 2012 Desk Diary. They asked me to write an introduction and provide images for every month and every week. The diaries are not yet in the stores, but if you go to the BN website by clicking all three versions linked below, and when you get there, click where it says "more" under the photo in the left column, each has photos of several different pages in the diary. 

 2012 Barnes & Noble Softcover Desk Diary (blue)

2012 Barnes & Noble Softcover Desk Diary (red)

2012 Barnes & Noble Hardcover Desk Diary