Timeline of Publishers' Bindings: 1840-1849

By the 1840s cloth bindings were universally used in America. Common design elements included ruled borders, symmetrical layouts, blind stamping, and center vignettes of classical imagery, and the spines were often heavily decorated in gold. Gilt stamping was left to the front cover and spine, but the design was often repeated on the back in blind stamping. A short-lived fad of this decade was the use of patterned cloth, such as striped, gingham, and floral.

Illustration began to appear regularly in books and periodicals by the middle of the decade, and publishers recognized the marketing appeal of putting pictorial images on the outside of books. Engravers began to interpret the subject matter and interior illustrations into their designs, which binders would order for specific books.

 

 

Elizabeth Thornton; or The Flower and the Fruit of Female Piety

Elizabeth Thornton; or The Flower and the Fruit of Female Piety, by Samuel Irenaeus Prime
(New York: M. Dodd, 1841)
Helen Farr Sloan Library & Archives, Delaware Art Museum
Carol Jording Rare Book Acquisition Fund, 2017

This binding features a central vignette in gilt surrounded by blind stamping on the front, while the back has the same blind-stamped design but is lacking the gilt floral decoration. The dark brown cloth has a rib grain pattern.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Uncas and Miantonomoh; a Historical Discourse

Uncas and Miantonomoh; a Historical Discourse, by William L. Stone (New York: Dayton & Newman, 1842)
Helen Farr Sloan Library & Archives, Delaware Art Museum
Carol Jording Rare Book Acquisition Fund, 2017

The decoration on the front, which features the center design in gilt and a blind-stamped ruled border, is repeated on the back in all blind stamping. The spine has quite elaborate gilt decoration, and the red cloth has a dot grain pattern.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Picturesque Tourist; Being a Guide through the Northern and Eastern States and Canada

The Picturesque Tourist; Being a Guide through the Northern and Eastern States and Canada, by O. L. Holley (New York: J. Disturnell, 1844)
Helen Farr Sloan Library & Archives, Delaware Art Museum
Carol Jording Rare Book Acquisition Fund, 2016

The pictorial designs of a steamboat on the cover and a waterfall on the spine are direct references to the subject matter of the book. The grain pattern is meant to mimic leather. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sacred Poems The rose of Sharon, or Gems of sacred poetry

Sacred Poems, by Nathaniel Parker Willis (New York: Clark & Austin, 1847)
Helen Farr Sloan Library & Archives, Delaware Art Museum
Carol Jording Rare Book Acquisition Fund, 2017

 

The Rose of Sharon, or, Gems of Sacred Poetry (Auburn, NY: Derby, Miller & Co., 1849)
Helen Farr Sloan Library & Archives, Delaware Art Museum
Carol Jording Rare Book Acquisition Fund, 2017

These books both feature central vignettes of classical motifs stamped in gold with blind-stamped borders on patterned cloth.

Timeline of Publishers' Bindings: 1840-1849