[Table of Contents] [Search]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Sue and Greer Allen - An Exhibition and Two Lectures, The University of Rochester, Rochester, NY - April, 2002

           See The Exhibition Online, And Order Your Catalog.


Early in the 19th century, the need for speed, simplicity, and economy in
book production led to the introduction of cloth as a binding material and
casing as a binding process. These developments, in conjunction with
technological advances in the printing industry, led directly to the rise
of the publishers' bookbindings: i.e., bindings designed for and
manufactured in quantity for a publisher.

This exhibit chronicles the growth of English and American publishers'
binding from its infancy in the 1830s to its decline in the early 20th
century. Highlighted are the distinct changes in design that reflected not
only technical innovations in the means of book production and decoration
but shifting social and cultural trends as well. Viewed as a group,
publishers' bindings represent a revolution in the history of the book.
Viewed individually, each binding offers an often gilded window to the
fashion of its day.

The exhibit, curated by Andrea Reithmayr, will be on display in the

Rare Books and Special Collections Library
Rush Rhees Library, 2nd Floor
University of Rochester
March 25-August 1, 2002


Rare Books and Special Collections Lecture Series
Tuesday, April 16, 2002
Rare Books and Special Collections Library
2nd Floor, Rush Rhees Library
University of Rochester

"That Most Miserable Muslin: or How 19th Century Book Covers Became a Great

When-- in the literacy explosion of the early 19th century-- demand for
binders' leather bid fair to outstrip the supply, the industry-- searching
for a durable substitute-- hit upon cotton cloth. The story of publishers'
bindings between 1830 and 1910 is the saga of a struggle to counter
critics' disappointment and to produce effective selling tools. Virtually
nothing offered by the evolving technology was left untried-- and the
varieties we find in attics, in antiquarian bookshops and on library
shelves attest to the heroic struggle for attention and grace which reflect
an inventiveness hedged in only by the style currents of each age.

SUE ALLEN is considered the foremost authority on 19th century American
publishers' bindings. For three decades she has examined their evolution
with the eye of a trained artist, written extensively, lectured, taught and
staged exhibitions. Among her most influential publications are the
ground-breaking 1979 article in the magazine Antiques and "Decorated Cloth
in America" (UCLA,1994). In 1998 the Library of Congress commissioned her
to formulate the guide "American Book Covers 1830-1900," which sets forth
the salient characteristics of these books by decades. From her course in
Rare Books School at the University of Virginia curators, and conservators
go forth with increasing frequency-- inspired to mount exhibitions in their
own domains.

Richard Peek
Director, Rare Books, Special Collections and Preservation Division
(585) 275-9335


Rare Books and Special Collections Lecture Series
Wednesday, April 17, 2002
Rare Books and Special Collections Library

"The Vitality of Fritz Kredel's Book Illustrations"

Books produced in England and America from 1930 through the 1960s would
have appeared much more sterile were it not for the influx of gifted
Europeans into the design studios of New York and London. To such names as
Jan Tschichold, Berthold Wolpe, and George Salter must be added that of
Fritz Kredel, who brought a discipline-- fostered in the Offenbach arts and
crafts workshop of Rudolf Koch-- to bear upon the American book scene.
Endowed with wit, a hand which could realize anything his mind envisioned,
and a unique gift for simulating the incunable wood-cut, Fritz Kredel left
a trail of remarkable graphic images for our delectation.

GREER ALLEN, having served as Printer to two universities-- Chicago and
Yale-- returned to his first love and has been designing books and
catalogues for art museums and rare book libraries for the past two
decades. Colonial Williamsburg, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Met,
the Houghton, the Beinecke and the Rosenbach libraries are among his
patrons. In 1978 he was named Honorary Printer to the Cathedral of St.John
the Divine in New York City.

Richard Peek
Director, Rare Books, Special Collections and Preservation Division
(585) 275-9335

            BOOK_ARTS-L: The listserv for all the book arts.
      For subscription information, the Archive, and other related
            resources and links go to the Book_Arts-L FAQ at:

        To unsubscribe, type the following into the message body:
 Or click here <mailto:listserv@listserv.syr.edu?body=unsub book_arts-l>

[Subject index] [Index for current month] [Table of Contents] [Search]