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Subject: Online exhibit on historic bookbindings

Online exhibit on historic bookbindings

From: Robert J. Milevski <milevski>
Date: Monday, October 11, 2004
New online bookbindings exhibition features close-up magnifier

A new online exhibition will allow viewers to closely examine
historic bookbindings from the Department of Rare Books and Special
Collections at Firestone Library.

"Hand Bookbindings From Special Collections in the Princeton
University Library: Plain and Simple to Grand and Glorious" includes
more than 200 books. Two major themes are illustrated. First, many
of the books offer examples of the elements that make up a book's
binding, such as sewing, endleaves, cover attachment, clasps and
tooling. Readers learn not only what these elements are but also see
specimens dating from different eras and locales. Second, numerous
examples highlight historic national technical styles and "bespoke"
bindings for famous collectors, as well as specialty styles such as
those with fully silk-embroidered covers.  Examples date from as
early as the 12th century and come down to the end of the 20th. The
entire show is arranged in virtual cases, represented by 26
thumbnail images on the web site's opening page.

Clicking on a thumbnail leads the reader to a page showing vivid,
colorful images of each book, together with descriptive notes.
Another click on an image leads to a full-page enlargement of the
binding that can be examined in greater detail, thanks to a digital
close-up magnifier. The reader can move the magnifier as well as
change the size of the area under magnification. With magnification,
details otherwise little noticed, such as a binder's name stamped
into the leather or the stitching of silver thread, become visible.

Scott Husby, Firestone Library's chief rare book conservator,
organized the show for two reasons. When he came to Princeton in
1997, he was astonished not only by the size of the library's
collections, which had been built over two centuries, but also the
amazing range of historic bindings from Europe, the Americas, the
Middle East and ancient China. Every book posed questions not only
about how to restore it but also about its place in the long history
of bookbinding. The show records what Husby learned and demonstrates
for the first time in many years the extraordinary scope of
Princeton's holdings.

The online show follows an exhibition of hand bookbindings that ran
in Firestone Library's main gallery from November 2002 through April
2003. To view the online exhibition, visit
<URL:> and
click on the entry for "Hand Bookbindings from Special Collections."

For further information, contact the

    Department of Rare Books and Special Collections
    rbsc [at] princeton__edu

Robert J. Milevski
Preservation Librarian, Digital Projects Librarian,
and Manager, Typography Studio
Princeton University Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544
Fax: 609-258-4105

                  Conservation DistList Instance 18:18
                Distributed: Thursday, October 14, 2004
                       Message Id: cdl-18-18-010
Received on Monday, 11 October, 2004

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