Alan Isaac Rare Books

Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington – Bindings Database Up-date

The Library has just drawn attention to the improved images database now encompassing over 3,000 images of over 1,000 books from the collection.  These are high definition images and show not just the binding, but details of construction and decorated papers.  They are well worth examining at length.

The Library dates from 1932 and is founded on the collection amassed by Henry and Emily Folger.  It boasts of its Shakespeare archive, claiming it to be the worlds best it also has strength in its ‘early modern’ books from 1450 – 1750 and these along with manuscripts provide a collection of some 300,000 items from which to choose in this digitising project, which remains on-going.

This is how the Library describe it with the links for access:-

The Folger Shakespeare Library is pleased to announce public access to a new database of digital images: the Folger Bindings Image Collection, now accessible as an additional resource at, or via  this direct link.

About this database:

The Folger Bindings Image Collection provides access to high resolution images and descriptions of bindings from the rare book and manuscript collections of the Folger Shakespeare Library. Bindings are chosen from the collection for photography and description not only because of decorative tooling but also for their physical features as functional objects and cultural artifacts. Recording information about binding structure and decoration can reveal items where the same or similar tools may have been used at different times by different binders or binding workshops. Uncovering such similarities can also help link multiple bindings to individual owners, collectors, binders, or workshops –even in cases where a binder may be as yet unidentified –as well as to specific geographical regions or time periods.

Contents of the database:

Included among the over 3,000 images depicting over 1,000 bindings are descriptions and depictions of:

– bindings in our collection of incunabula, including for instance this 15th century German half-leather and wood board binding on   a 1481 Nuremberg edition of Platina’s Vitae pontificum;

-bindings by 18th century English bookbinder Roger Payne;

– fore-edges that are gauffered or painted;

– identified and unidentified armorial bindings.

Most of the records in this database represent new bindings research and photography created by Folger Rare Bindings Specialist and former Head of Conservation J. Franklin Mowery, with the assistance of Bindings Database Intern Rachel Bartgis. Some of the contents of the database were imported from past projects, including: a 1992 exhibition catalog Fine and Historic Bookbindings from the Folger Shakespeare Library, by Frederick A. Bearman, Nati H. Krivatsy, J. Franklin Mowery, photographs by Julie Ainsworth; a previously-unpublished guide to The Bindings of Edward Gwynn in the Folger Shakespeare Library, by J. Franklin Mowery; and previously-unpublished conservation documentation and photography of Shakespeare First Folio bindings in the Folger Library, by J. Franklin Mowery.

Posted by on June 25th, 2012 | Comments Off on Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington – Bindings Database Up-date
Posted in Bookbinding, Uncategorized

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