Thursday, March 26, 2009

Cover as Clue to Content

Cover as Clue to Content
Early American Bookbinding

The Redwood Library and Athenaeum, located in Newport, RI, displayed "Cover as Clue to Content" June 6 - August 20, 1999. This exhibit highlighted the changes in book binding during the 19th century, as well as publisher's attempts to use the book covers as a means of advertising the book's content.

The exhibit is small, with only a handful of book covers serving as examples of the trends of the six decades highlighted.

The exhibit's home page credits the persons who created the online exhibit. The exhibit itself is entered by clicking on the six different decades listed on a picture of the Redwood Library.

Each decade has 3-4 book covers at the top of the page, as well as a bulleted list describing the characteristics of the cover designs. Following this list are the metadata for each book cover (author, title, year published, publisher, and the original ownner, if known), as well as a brief description of the physical condition and characteristics of each cover.

The first decade, 1830-1840, also has a brief introduction to the exhibit, where it outlines the context of book binding starting in the 18th-century, and the focus of the exhibit. The introduction is following by a link for further information.

This link directs you to "Introduction to 19th-Century Bookbinding" by Russell J. De Simone, a short narrative that further describes bookbinding in the decades covered in the exhibit.

This exhibit has a very clean and easily navigated layout. The 1860 page, however, has a deadlink for one of the bookcovers. Where the bookcover should be, there is only a blank space, which, ironically enough, is still a hyperlink. A link that opens a blank page.

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