AMERICAN SIGNED BINDINGS THROUGH 1876. Willman Spawn, Thomas E. Kinsella.


  • New Castle and Bryn Mawr: Oak Knoll Press & Bryn Mawr College Library, 2007.
  • 4to.
  • unbound
  • 300 pages

Price: $60.00  other currencies

Order Nr. 93878

First edition. Smyth-sewn book block complete with end sheets but without a case. In this the first major study of American signed book bindings, Willman Spawn and Thomas E. Kinsella describe and illustrate 315 bookbinder's tickets, stamps, and engraved designations dating from the 1750s through 1876. The details of the study reveal a vibrant segment of the book trade, deeply enmeshed with the related trades of booksellers, stationers and publishers. Two hundred and thirty-three binders are represented, many with multiple designations. Locations of binders cluster up and down the east coast from Maine to Virginia, with tickets as far south as New Orleans and as far west as Little Rock. The study identifies binders from 19 states and 84 cities and towns. Brief descriptions of bindings are provided, along with explanatory notes for many binders, especially in the binding centers of Boston, New York and Philadelphia. The strength of the study is in its attention to nineteenth-century trade binders such as Benjamin Bradley and Peter Low of Boston, George W. Alexander and Colton & Jenkins of New York, and Benjamin Gaskill and Joseph T. Altemus of Philadelphia.

Spawn, retired conservator at the American Philosophical Society, has written numerous articles on early American bookbinding. Since 1985 he has served as honorary Curator of Bookbindings at Bryn Mawr College where he has helped to build the splendid collection of signed bindings described here. Kinsella is Associate Professor of British Literature at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. He has written on Samuel Johnson and James Boswell, among other subjects, and, for the past 20 years, has collaborated with Spawn researching the history of bookbinding.
The volume has two introductory essays and is well indexed. Co-published with Bryn Mawr College Library.