Providing educational resources and opportunities for all individuals involved in book and book-related publishing.

ABM | The Art and Social History of 19th Century Book Cover Design

Hosted/Organized by: American Bookbinders Museum

The American Bookbinders Museum proudly presents an illustrated lecture by Kathleen Roberts. Kathy is the collector and co-curator of the Bound for Beauty exhibit. This special 60-minute talk focuses on the social and art history of Decorated Publishers’ Bindings, 1840-1920. The lecture is Saturday, Jan 18th at 2pm, followed by the Exhibit Opening Reception.

For the first time, technology of the Industrial Revolution made mass production of books possible. To sell those books, publishers produced beautifully decorated covers reflecting the tastes of the age. Known as Decorated Publishers’ Bindings, they were bound in colorful fabric and elaborately decorated in silver and gold.

Find out how the Civil War, Victorian opulence, the opening of Japan to the West, Art Nouveau, Art Deco and the simplicity and elegance of the Arts and Crafts movement influenced cover designs.  Witness the rise of artists, most notably women, such as Margaret Armstrong and Sarah Wyman Whitman, to icon designer status. Learn how World War I and the less expensive dust jacket foreshadow the end of these   works of art.

Using slides and books from the Bound for Beauty exhibit, Kathy will highlight notable pieces from her 20 years of collecting. See the original bindings for Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women series, the artistry of Maxfield Parrish, and Vanessa Bell’s woodcut designs for Virginia Woolf’s Hogarth Press titles. Come see these stunning masterpieces. Prepare to be amazed. The WOW factor is high!

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Kathy Roberts, collector and book seller, divides her time between Burlington, Vermont and San Francisco, CA. She is a member of the Vermont Antiquarian Booksellers Association, The Book Club of California, and the Miniature Book Society. In 2016, she donated over 450 of her decorated cloth bindings to the American Bookbinders Museum.