City Readers Digital Historic Collections at the New York Society Library
Why Decorative Bindings?
Bookbinding changed dramatically in the 19th century: during the beginning of the century books followed the tradition of being bound at a bindery, until the advent of the Industrial Revolution brought with it new machines designed to mass-produce stamped cloth bindings. As technology advanced, binding design could technically advance and American publishers began to realize they could utilize an attractive book cover to advertise and sell more product. A beautiful book is more likely to catch the eye of a potential buyer, and also helps to decorate a beautiful home. During the 1880s we see publishers begin to court formally trained artists to design book covers, opening up a new trade to men and women alike.