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January 25, 2007

   

Bound and Determined Exhibition Opens
with a Lecture on the History of Bookbinding

image of philadelphia bindery
"A Day at the Bookbindery of Lippincott, Grambo, & Co.," from Godey's Lady's Book, November, 1852.

A new exhibition titled Bound and Determined: Identifying American Bookbindings, will open Tuesday, Jan. 30, in the Rare Book Room in Canaday Library. Preceding the opening will be a lecture by Daniel Traister, curator of research services at the Annenberg Rare Book and Manuscript Library at the University of Pennsylvania, and a prolific writer and speaker about the history of books and English and American literature. His talk, You Can't Tell a Book by Its Cover; or Bindings? Why Bindings?, will be at 4:30 p.m. in Carpenter Library 21. Following the lecture will be a reception in the Rare Book Room in Canaday Library. Both the lecture and the reception are free and open to the public.

The exhibition will focus on the work of individual bookbinders in 18th- and 19th-century America and on the role binding played in the early book trade. The show is organized around the work of bookbinders who have been identified through their advertising, their tickets or other forms of identification placed in books they bound, and their distinctive use of decorative tools. Among the items shown will be important examples of American bookbinding drawn from the Bryn Mawr College Library's excellent collections.

Willman Spawn
Willman Spawn

The exhibition's curators are Willman Spawn, the honorary curator of bookbinding at the Bryn Mawr College Library since 1985, and Thomas E. Kinsella, associate professor of British literature at Richard Stockton College. Spawn came to Bryn Mawr following a distinguished career as bookbinder and conservator at the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia. He has long been recognized as the dean of bookbinding historians in America as a result of his influential articles and lectures and his extensive career as a consultant to many of the major research libraries on the East Coast. Among his works are the book that accompanied his 1999 bookbinding exhibition at Bryn Mawr, Ticketed Bookbindings from Nineteenth Century Britain (Oak Knoll Press, 1999), co-authored with Kinsella, and his introductory essay to the Bryn Mawr exhibition catalogue Bookbinding in America, 1680-1910, published by the library in conjunction with the University Press of Virginia in 1983.

The exhibition will run from Jan. 30 to June 3. The hours are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The exhibition is closed on spring break weekends (March 10-11, 17-18).

The Friends of the Bryn Mawr College Library will sponsor several events this spring in conjunction with this exhibition. On Friday, March 9, the Bryn Mawr Library will hold a daylong seminar on the history of American bookbinding, featuring speakers from across North America. At the end of March, the Library will open an exhibition of artists' books from members of the Philadelphia Center for the Book.The exhibition, Re-Bound: Contemporary Artists' Responses to 18th and 19th Century Ticketed American Bindings, will be on display in the lobby of Canaday Library, and will run from March 30th to May 11th, with an opening reception on Friday, March 30th, at 6 p.m. in the Rare Book Room.

For additional information about any of these events, please call 610-526-6576.

 

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