- Richmond, VA: Peter Cottom, 1824.
- contemporary quarter calf over paper covered boards in later clamshell box.
- iv, 60 pages.
- ISBN: none
Price: $8,500.00 other currencies
Order Nr. 109774
First American from the third English edition, with "considerable additions" (See S-K 7258. Pollard no.89). The 1811 English printing was the first English book devoted entirely to bookbinding. "It is very much a working bookbinder's notebook put in order for publication and owes little to the encyclopaedias." The best description of this important book appears in Highlights from the Bernard C. Middleton Collection of Books on Bookbinding (Rochester, NY, 2000, No.9, page 32): "The first English bookbinding manual, published more than a century after the earliest Continental ones. This slim, unillustrated book covers forwarding somewhat cursorily, but the sections on the sprinkling of book-edges, the sprinkling and marbling of leather covers, and the preparation of the colours are more than detailed. Gold tooling and stationery binding are also dealt with. In these days of complete openness among craftspeople, those of the younger generation may wonder why the book was published anonymously. The reason was that secretiveness was very prevalent at the time and, indeed, persisted in some quarters well within living memory. This apparent meanness of spirit can be understood in the light of very harsh industrial and social conditions and the complete lack of benefits paid by the State. Marblers, in particular, often erected partitions or kept the inquisitive out of their room in order not to be observed at work, so an author who divulged details of the 'art and mystery' of the craft would expect hostility from fellow practitioners. Authors of most later manuals were identified, but they gave generalized instructions which did not include the multitude of essential 'wrinkles' which greatly facilitate procedures. The question of authorship has exercised the minds of a number of historians. I have insufficient space fully to summarize the arguments. Suffice it to say that three candidates have been named: W. Price, an Oswestry binder, whose earliest date in directories is 1828; Nathaniel Minshall, the printer of the manual, and admitted as a solicitor in 1819; and Henry Parry, author of The Art of Bookbinding published in 1817. Of the three, Parry seems the most likely; the Oswestry volume was registered at Stationers' Hall in the name of Henry Parry, so it would be a remarkable coincidence if he were not the author."
This American edition is even more scarce than the English edition with only 11 copies cited in OCLC. This copy's foldout table in the back which lists prices for New York bookbinders is torn with most lacking, but facsimile reprint, with letter from previous bookseller, inserted.