Friday, May 13, 2016

The Art of Google Books

Trying to wrap up all the loose ends on The Collins / Die Collins, my bi-lingual history of W. Collin and bibliography of Ernst Collin, and trying to find an appropriate cover design. Latest incarnation is using a contemporary map of Berlin. In Baedeker's Berlin and its Environs (1910) I found this wonderful image at HathiTrust, content digitized by Google Books... If that finger was about 3 blocks to the Southeast it could be said to pointing to Leipzigerstrasse 19 where W. Collin had a "showroom" from 1893 to 1913. However, in a way this image could also be the perfect metaphor for how I was able to acquire the vast majority of references and other sources for this project – Google.

Bin dabei meine zweisprachige Geschichte von W. Collin und Bibliographie von Ernst Collin zu vollenden, und ein Teil davon ist einen passenden Umschlag für das Ganze zu entwerfen. In der letzten Version benutze ich eine zeitgenößische Karte von Berlin. Diese habe ich in Baedekers  Berlin and its Environs (1910) bei HathiTrust gefunden, Inhalt der von Google Books digitalisiert wurde. Der Finger zeigt fast auf die Leipzigerstrasse 19 wo W. Collin ein "Schaufenster" zwischen 1893 und 1913 hatten. Irgendwie ist dieses Bild fast die perfekte Metapher für die Art und Weise in der ich fast alle Quellen für dieses Projekt gefunden habe – Google..

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Sunday, May 8, 2016

Pan at the Veatchs Arts of the Book

Very nice to see my binding on the Pennyroyal Press's Pan opposite the title page in the latest catalog (84) from the Veatchs Arts of the Book. You can also see it here. I had a great time binding this, and a big thank you for letting me borrow it back for the 2015 Society of Bookbinders' Competition.

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Lots of other fantastic bindings/books in Catalogue 84, so check it out here.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Mehr Werbung

Leipziger Buchbinderei AG, vorm. Gustav Fritzsche,
Leipzig-Reudnitz, 1925

Department for hand-bound books and decorated papers
Publishers' bindings in all styles
Portfolios for artwork
Book covers (to be used for binding periodicals....)

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These book covers are still provided by many journal publishers today. During my apprenticeship we received them along with the issues for binding. Usually they fit well, but sometimes we needed to adjust the spine...

Die Decken gibts noch heute. Während meiner Ausbildung haben wir diese Decken oft mit den Jahrgängen bekommen. Meistens haben sie gepaßt, aber manchmal mußten wir den Rücken angleichen...

Danke für die Bilder Marianne @ Buchbinderei Dietmar Klein in Gelsenkirchen, NRW, Germany.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Human Library 2016 - a book about books about books

At the Human Library and all "meta" as the "book" (Z700.9 Library of Congress classification for my authority record) "You Can Judge a Book by its Cover." Got to talk books, and show books largely about bookbinding. Was "checked out" 3x, renewed 1x, and browsed 2x. Based on current policies and workflows I'm pretty sure I won't be weeded or transferred to the preservation environment in our offsite facility... Whew!

All bindings by me, with exception of my copy of Claudia Cohen's "Bookbinding Ephemera" that displays the materials used in bookbinding so beautifully. Scroll down and click the images for views of the book at

Here my catalog record. Next time, full LC and Dewey classifications.

The Human Library is an international idea,, The Syracuse University Libraries, where I work, have hosted an event since 2014. This was my first time as a book.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Buchbinderei L. Horn, Berlin

Recent eBay acquisition | Neulich in "der Bucht" ergattert

Werbemarke der Buchbinderei L. Horn, Berlin, ca. 1910 ~ 15.
Advertising stamp for the Buchbinderei L. Horn, Berlin, ca. 1910 ~ 15. 

Actual Size | Original Größe

Schauen wir mal ob es über die was zu lernen gibt...
Let's see if we can learn anything about them...

Sunday, March 20, 2016

In Memoriam Norma Rubovits

Learned on Friday that Norma Rubovits passed away at the age of 97 1/2. Bill Drendel wrote a wonderful tribute to her that was posted on Book_Arts-L, Bill Minter shared images from a 2010 exhibition of her work at the Newberry, and I found myself remembering her from my days in Chicago. Norma was a regular participant at Chicago Hand Bookbinders meetings, which is how I came to know her during the late 1980s – 1990s. Fast forward to 2006, and I was very glad to have included her in the retrospective exhibition held for the Guild of Book Workers' 100th anniversary where one of her vignettes was shown.

Here Bill's Drendel's tribute:
The passing of Norma B. Rubovits

The book arts community lost a good friend this week Wednesday, when Norma B. Rubovits died at the age of 97. She was a pioneering paper marbler, imaginative bookbinder, major collector and donor. For decades from the 1960s well into the current century, she had a role to play in Chicago book arts and at the Newberry Library. The Newberry hosted a retrospective exhibition of her work in 2010 that celebrated her international renown.

Norma's story is one of determined craft, original thinking, and careful collecting, but it started almost by chance. One day in 1964, Norma's husband Frank asked her if she wanted to take a binding class with him. He had inherited a collection of deteriorating books from his grandfather’s library. Norma said "Why not?" and off they went - to study with Elizabeth Kner, a well- known Hungarian émigré binder with a studio in the Printer's Row area of Chicago. Although Norma became an accomplished binder, her attention soon turned to marbled papers. She taught herself to make marbled paper, by referring to old manuals and sample books at the Newberry, and also by seeking out and getting to know others interested in the art. Her papers were accomplished enough that Jim Wells bought some for use in the Newberry Library bindery, and other customers lined up too. But Norma was not content to produce sheet after sheet of beautiful but predictable papers. She started experimenting with smaller marbles that took up only part of a sheet and eventually came to place these compositions toward the center, using the sheet as a sort of frame. She first referred to these as marbled "doodles" and later "mono-prints," but finally settled on "vignettes." The marbling world had never seen anything like them, and they caused a stir. The Chicago Public Library included her prominently in an exhibit in 1969. She got invitations to exhibit her papers and bindings in group shows locally, nationally, and internationally. She visited Turkey, then as now a center of the marbling world, and corresponded with marblers everywhere. Her international reputation was further solidified in 1992 when Dawson's Bookshop in Los Angeles issued Marbled Vignettes, a limited edition of original miniature marbles along with an accompanying interview in which Norma described her methods and aesthetic.

From the start, Norma Rubovits collected everything she could find on the art of marbling, including copies of the rare manuals she had seen at the Newberry and hundreds of other works about paper, binding, and related book arts. She built a huge collection of papers made by others, largely by purchasing or trading some of her sheets for some of theirs. She often told the story of how shocked and pleased she was when Newberry’s curator, James Wells expressed interest in keeping her papers as part of the John. M. Wing Foundation. But Wells retired soon after and he referred her to "the new guy," Paul Gehl. Norma's major gifts to the Newberry began in 1991 and continued for over a decade. As recently as last year she was adding individual papers and books. The collection is always growing in other ways too. Marblers and authors on paper continue to send their work to the Newberry in Norma's honor. Norma also endowed a book fund at the Newberry for the purchase of books on binding and decorated papers. The collection now numbers more than 4000 marbled pieces and more than 170 books, including many of Norma's own bindings.

Many will mourn Norma as artist and friend. Born Norma Bloch on August 26, 1918 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, she graduated from the University of Oklahoma and came to Chicago to work at the University of Chicago hospitals as a dietitian. It was during this time she met Dr. Frank E. Rubovits, an obstetrician-gynecologist from an established Chicago family. They raised two daughters: Paula, an artist and model, and Randi, a psychiatrist. Frank died in 1987, Paula in 1988. Norma died March 16, 2016. Randi Rubovits-Seitz is the sole immediate survivor. A memorial is being planned.
Link here to an in memoriam from the Newberry Library, and more about Norma and her collection and more. Here from the Chicago Tribune.

Below three of her marbled vignettes that she sent to me, shown approximately actual size. I was very glad to find them again.



No date

Though we lost touch over the years, she is someone who I will always remember very fondly.

Thank you, Norma. You are missed.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Werkzeuge - Tools

Aus dem Buchbinderlehrling, 7 Jg., 1937 – Werkzeugkästen für die Stifte im ersten Lehrjahr, fortgeschrittenere Lehrlinge und Gehilfen, sowie Gesellen und Meister.

 Out of the Buchbinderlehrling, Vol 7, 1937 – Tool sets for apprentices in their first year, more advanced apprentices and unskilled laborers, as well as journeymen and masters.

Stifte im ersten Lehrjahr, Reichsmark 9
For 1st apprentices, 9 Reichsmarks

Für Buchbinderlehrlinge und Gehilfen, Reichsmark 50
For apprentices and "unskilled" laborers, 50 Reichsmarks

Für Gesellen und Meister, Rcichsmark 70
For journeymen and masters, 70 Reichsmarks

Nix für Lehrlinge sondern eher Gesellen und Meister... Ohne Preis.
Nothing for apprentices, but rather journeymen and master... Priceless