Timeline of Publishers' Bindings: 1870-1879

Elaborate ornamentation and brightly-colored cloth returned in the 1870s, reflecting the prosperity and renewed optimism of the decade. Black stamping, which was perfected in the late 1860s, became extremely popular and is a hallmark of a book from this period. Other characteristic features include asymmetry, beveled boards, and titles within angular ribbon banners. Book design began to mirror popular decorative arts trends such as the “Eastlake Style,” which was characterized by fine lines, abstract geometric patterns, and stylized leaf motifs that translated well to the flat plane of a book’s surface.

 

 

Golden thoughts from golden fountains

Golden Thoughts from Golden Fountains (London: Frederick Warne and Co., c. 1870)
Helen Farr Sloan Library & Archives, Delaware Art Museum
Carol Jording Rare Book Acquisition Fund, 2016

This binding features all of the hallmarks of the early 1870s, including brightly colored cloth, black and gold stamping, beveled boards, and a ribbon banner encasing the title.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rollo in London The hanging of the crane At the North Pole : or, The Adventures of Captain Hatteras.

 

Rollo in London, by Jacob Abbott (New York: Sheldon & Co., 1873)
Helen Farr Sloan Library & Archives, Delaware Art Museum

 

The Hanging of the Crane, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (Boston: James R. Osgood and Co., 1875)
Helen Farr Sloan Library & Archives, Delaware Art Museum

 

At the North Pole: or, The Adventures of Captain Hatteras, by Jules Verne (Philadelphia: Porter & Coates, 1874)
Helen Farr Sloan Library & Archives, Delaware Art Museum

All three of these bindings incorporate Eastlake-derived elements in their designs, including abstract geometric patterns, thin defined lines, and stylized leaf motifs. The top two bindings also feature the decade's ubiquitous ribbon-banner title.

Timeline of Publishers' Bindings: 1870-1879