Timeline of Publishers' Bindings: 1900-1920

Professional book designers continued to produce distinctive designs throughout the first decade of the new century. Sophisticated pictorial designs were popular, and color halftone paper onlays became increasingly common.

Matching paper book jackets gradually began to appear as a means of protecting the decorative cloth bindings, though publishers soon realized their marketing potential. In addition to being cheaper to produce, jackets offered something that cloth bindings did not—space for advertising. By the mid-1920s, decorative cloth bindings were largely a thing of the past.

 

The open road

The Open Road, by Edward V. Lucas (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1907)
M. G. Sawyer Collection of Decorative Bindings, Helen Farr Sloan Library & Archives, Delaware Art Museum

Bertha Stuart (1869-1953) designed more than 175 covers between 1902 and 1912. This flat, stylized design, with the tree branches overlapping the title plane, references Japanese prints.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joyce of the jasmines

Joyce of the Jasmines, by Ralph Henry Barbour (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1911)
M. G. Sawyer Collection of Decorative Bindings, Helen Farr Sloan Library & Archives, Delaware Art Museum

This book's interior and exterior feature color halftone illustrations by Clarence V. Underwood and decorations by Edward Stratton Holloway. Holloway’s signature “H” can be seen just under the author’s name.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The lady of the lighthouse The lady of the lighthouse

The Lady of the Lighthouse, by Helen S. Woodruff (New York: George H. Doran Company, 1913)
M. G. Sawyer Collection of Decorative Bindings, Helen Farr Sloan Library & Archives, Delaware Art Museum

The front of this book jacket design matches that of the cloth binding beneath, but the publisher used the back of the jacket to advertise other titles by the same author.

Timeline of Publishers' Bindings: 1900-1920