One of the books I'm working on now is Thomas Jefferson's 1825 catalog of books for the UVa Library, his "shopping list" that was used to create the University's first library. The book is actually two signatures from what must have been a larger blank journal. At some point (probably in the early 20th century) the signatures were sewn into a new binding with blank pages at the beginning and the end to bulk out the text block and a new cover of leather and marbled paper. It probably looked really spiffy back in the day, but the "new" binding did not have nearly the strength or archival soundness of the handmade paper from Jefferson's day. By the time I saw the book, the added blank pages were falling out and the front cover was starting to detach from the binding.
|several Poe signatures!|
The library staff agreed with my concept, so then I had to track down period-appropriate marbled paper to cover the boards, which is not as easy as it sounds. There are many different styles of marbled paper and the brightly colored, combed and fanned types are much more popular today. But the good news is that that there are almost as many marbling nerds out there as book nerds and I was able to find a paper that fit the time period. The vendor offered to match any one of the marbled papers in our collection, but I didn't want it match so much as "fit in".
Given these examples:
I received these two papers:
I've placed them next to the leather I plan to use for the reverse goat spine. I like the one on the left, what do you think? Tune in next month for pictures of the finished product!