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16th Century: Birth of the Modern Book

Books began to become smaller and were easier to bind. Wood slowly was phased out as the material for the cover, replaced by pasteboards made from layers of glued together paper. But the term “board” stuck and is still used to describe the covers of a book. Gold tooling began to be more prominent and titles slowly made their way onto the spines of books.

Author:  Grisone, Federico.
Title:   Des edlen hochberumbten rittermässigen Manns Friderici Grisoni Neapoltanius beschreibung rütterlichen tugennt der Reutterey wahre gerechte ordnungen vnd lehren die Pferdt gerecht inn alle geradigkeit zum Ernnst vnnd Kurtzweill geschickt vnnd volkhomben zumachen durch Josephen Höchstettern uffs ainfelttigest verteutscht.
Publisher:  ca. 1560.
Call Number:  MSS 191

A full leather binding with gold tooling. There are four slits in the cover (head, tail and two along the fore edge) for cloth ties (now missing). The leather and metal clasps of 15th century bindings gave way to ribbon ties or no fastenings at all. The spine has been rebacked.

Federico Grisone. Frederico Grisone. Image 2.
Author:  Gaguin, Robert, 1433-1501.
Title:  Cõpẽdiũ Roberti Gaguini sup[er] Francorũ gestis.
Publisher:  Parisiis : Impressit Thilmannus Keruer, impensis Iohannis Parui, 1507.
Call Number:  DC 64 .G3 1507

Full leather binding with blind tooling on spine and an embossed design on both front and back covers. The edges are both gilded and gauffered.

Cõpẽdiũ Roberti Gaguini sup[er] Francorũ gestis
Author:  Aesop.
Title:   Aesopi phrygis fabvlarvm celeberrimi autoris uita : Fabellæ Aesopicæ plures quadrng̲ētis, quædam prius etiā, multæ nunc primū editæ: ōcs aut̄c orati onis cōueniente & æquabili ueluti filo pertextæ à Ioachimo Camerario Pabergēn : Fabulæ it̄c Liuianæ, Gellianæ, Politiani, Gerbelij & Erasmi aliquot.
Publisher:  Norimbergæ : [s.n.] 1540.
Call Number:  PA 3851 .A2 1540

Quarter leather binding with wooden boards and evidence of clasps. There is no titling on the spine, but labels have been glued on at some point. These old ways of binding held on longer in northern Europe than in southern Europe.

Aesopi phrygis fabvlarvm celeberrimi autoris uita... Aesopi phrygis fabvlarvm celeberrimi autoris uita... Image 2.
Author:  Orléanais (France)
Title:   Sensuyuent les coustumes des bailliaige et preuoste Dorleans et ressors diceulx : lesquelles danciennete ont este vulgairement appellez les coustumes de Lorryz, pource ̄q Lorryz est une des chastelenies du dit bailliage.
Publisher:  Paris : A. Langelier [1547?]
Call Number:  KM0 .A32 C8 1547a

A full leather binding with simple blind tooled lines on the cover. Most of the spine is missing, showing the sewing on split alum-tawed thongs.

Sensuyuent les coustumes des bailliaige et preuoste Dorleans et ressors diceulx... Sensuyuent les coustumes des bailliaige et preuoste Dorleans et ressors diceulx... Image 2.
Title: Antilogia papae : hoc est, De corrupto ecclesiæ statur & totius cleri papistici peruersitate : scripta aliquot ueterũ authorum, ante annos plus minus CCC & interea : nunc primum in lucem eruta & ab interitu uindicata : quorum catalogum proxima post præfationem pagina reperies : cum præfatione D. VVolfgangi Vuissenburgii.
Publisher:  Basileæ : Ex officina I. Oporini, 1555
Call Number:  BX 1763 .A57

A full leather binding with wooden boards and blind tooling. Wooden boards were slowly being replaced by pasteboards (similar to cardboard). This binding also has clasps, which were also going out of fashion. This binding is one demonstration of how hard it can be to date a binding with its old-style materials and methods. The spine has been rebacked and includes a new title label.

Antilogia papae Antilogia papae. Image 2.
Author:  Dodoens, Rembert, 1517-1585.
Title:  Pvrgantivm aliarvmqve eo facientivm, tvm et radicum, conuoluulorum ac deletariarum herbarum historiae libri IIII. Remberto Dodonaeo ... auctore. Accessit appendix variarŭ & quidem rarissimarum nonnullarum stirpium, ac florum quorundam peregrinorum, elegantissimorum icones omnino nouas nec anteà editas, singulorum breues descriptiones continens: cuius altera parte Vmbelliferae exhibentur non paucae, eodem auctore.
Publisher:  Antverpiae, Ex officina Christophori Plantini, 1574.
Call Number:  QK 41 .D6 1574

A full vellum binding over boards with clasps. The blind tooling is extensive. The boards are beveled with wide squares (the margin between the edges of the covers and the pages). The outline of double sewing stations (most likely flax cord) is visible under the vellum along the spine.

Pvrgantivm aliarvmqve eo facientivm, tvm et radicum Pvrgantivm aliarvmqve eo facientivm, tvm et radicum. Image 2.