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[BKARTS] New online bookbindings exhibition features close-up magnifier

New online bookbindings exhibition features close-up magnifier

PRINCETON, N.J. -- 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

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
http://www.princeton.edu/rbsc/exhibitions/online.html and click on the entry
for "Hand Bookbindings from Special Collections."

For further information, contact the Department of Rare Books and Special
Collections at (609) 258 3184 or e-mail rbsc@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Robert J. Milevski
Preservation Librarian, Digital Projects Librarian,
& Manager, Typography Studio
Princeton University Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544
(609) 258-5591
Fax:  (609) 258-4105
Email:  milevski@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Preservation Office website:

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