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Re: BOOK_ARTS-L Digest - 10 Mar 1998 to 11 Mar 1998

At 12:00 AM 3/12/98 -0500, you wrote:
>Date:    Wed, 11 Mar 1998 10:30:27 -0500
>From:    "Susan B. Ravdin" <sravdin@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>Subject: Binders biographies
>MIME-Version: 1.0
>Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
>Does anyone know of a good general reference work where I can find short
>biographical or institutional sketches of major turn-of-the-century
>European binders or binderies, respectively?  I'm working on a web-based
>version of a fine bindings exhibit (at my current pace it'll take me months
>to complete it, but so be it), and I'd like to be able to say something
>about the binders themselves.  Any ideas?
>Many thanks in advance. -- Susan


As you have probably discovered, otherwise you would not have posted your
query, the literature of bookbinding includes lots of descriptions of
bindings but few biographies of binders and histories of firms.  However,
if what you mean by "turn-of-the-century European binders or binderies" is
continental European, I can recommend one book, _Art Nouveau and Art Deco
Bookbinding: French Masterpieces, 1880-1940_, by Alastair Duncan and
Georges de Bartha (New York: Abrams; London: Thames and Hudson, 1989).
Although of specific scope, what this book covers, it covers splendidly.
Duncan and de Bartha is chiefly a picture book (and the pictures are
gorgeous), but the text is very substantial.  The approach to the subject
is biographical, binder by binder, and included in the book is a section on
"Biographies and Bibliographies of Individual Designers".  I used to see
this book advertised as a remainder, so you still may be able to find a
copy of it at a super-sized chain store or at the super super store in New
York, the Strand--or of course from the books on books booksellers or online.

For works on binders and binderies in other European countries, Austria,
Belgium, Czechoslovakia, etc. etc., you will have to consult
bibliographies.  By far the best bibliography in the field of bookbinding
is Friedrich-Adolf Schmidt-Kuensemueller's _Bilbiographie zur Geschichte
der Einbandkust von den Anfaengen bis 1985_ (Wiesbaden: Dr. Ludwig Reichert
Verlag, 1987).  This bibliography is a superb compilation, but
unfortunately the book is very expense ($245 when last sighted) and
accordingly is relatively scarce.  A stopgap to Schmidt-Kuensemueller is
_Bookbinding: A Guide to the Literature_, by Vito Brenni (Westport, Conn.:
Greenwood Press, 1982).  One expert in the bibliography of the field has
called Brenni's compilation more remarkable for what it leaves out than for
what it includes, but this book has served me well, largely though because
I have not expected wonders from it (citations of obscure or fugitive works).

If by "turn-of-the-century European binders or binderies" you mean to
include the British, I can suggest other works to look at.

I wish you all good success with the Web-based version of your fine
bindings exhibit.

        Donald Farren                          voice 301.951.9479
          email dfarren@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx         fax 301.951.3898
                4009 Bradley Lane, Chevy Chase, MD 20815

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