Saturday, December 20, 2014

J. A. Szirmai - In Memorium

I learned today via post on Nicholas Pickwoad's blog that J.A. Szirmai passed on December 2nd. Most of us know him as the author of the iconic Archeology of Medieval Bookbinding. What I would like to do here is show a selection of his design binding, with images taken from Boek Band Kunst, catalog to an exhibit held a the University Library of Amsterdam (NL) in 1984. Copies of the richly illustrated (in b/w) catalog can still be found online. Text is in Nederlands. Captions in the original here.

Here the link to Nicholas Pickwoad's remembrance of him.

At the Koninklijke Bibliotheek/ Royal Dutch Library


ALBIUS TIBULLUS: LIED DES FRIEDENS - ELEGIE I/X
Illustriert mit Original-Zinkzeichnungen von Hans Erni
Basel, Petri-Presse, 1942
Full veiney calf vellum binding with relief on both boards; dark green Fabriano endpapers; graphite top edge; dark green endbands. Bound1971. 300 x 212 x 11 mm.

HENRI MICHAUX: WIND UND STAUB
Olten, Walter Verlag, 1965
Millimeter binding with gray oasis goat trim at top and bottom edges; marbled with oil paints in gray and orange; top edge in orange; orange leather endbands; gray gold-stamped leather label. Bound 1978. 236 x 150 x 15 mm.

JOHANN WOLFGANG GOETHE: DREI MÄRCHEN
Ill. von K. -G. Hirsch, R. Munzner und R . Herold
Bound in calf leather, stained in brown tones with acrylic covers; signatures guarded with leather prior to sewing; sewn in beige thread on seven leather straps that are secured in the acrylic with gold screws; endbands sewn using late-medieval style; flexible goat leather inner "boards"/fly leaves backed with brownish Roma paper; title engraved on inside of front acrylic board. Bound 1981. 436 x 338 x 29mm.

HENRI MICHAUX: SAISIR
Avec une lithographie originate signee par l'auteur
Montpellier, Fata Morgana, 1979 (nr. 30 van de 75 speciale exx.)
Extra binding in gray dyed calfskin; dark gray Roma endpapers; gray sprinkled top edge; hand-sewn endbands; decor in cut leather (Lederschnitt) with added punching; title tooled in gold. Bound 1983. 255 x 180 x 28 mm.


As Pickwoad concluded... we "'will find it in Szirmai' will be heard for many years to come."

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Stenciled Papers

Received a copy of August Weichelt's Buntpapier-Fabrikation (3rd ed, 1927), and was elated to find a mention for Ernst Collin in the introduction that credited him with writing a new section Java Art Papers (Java Kunstpapiere), also known as batik papers. In with Collin's section, this page of commercially made stenciled papers.


While Weichelt gives a nod to hand-made decorated papers, it is really about the industrial manufacture of these. As such, the book goes into many different printing processes, equipment, and similiar. It is richly illustrated with hundreds of tipped-in samples. The page above was not in the earlier editions. A digital version of the 2nd edition (1911) can be found online in the HathiTrust collections. Hathi version only available to those in US.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Fritz Eberhardt - Three Lectures

Don Rash and his Boss Dog Press have just published the second title in a series of Eberhardtiana, the first having been 2003's Rules for Bookbinders. Rules is an "unfinished poem written in German and English before Fritz's death. The stanzas were lettered so that each stanza is presented in both languages on a page, separated by a sketch by Fritz." Sold out at the press, a copy is still available at Oak Knoll Books.

Three Lectures is a compilation of three lectures given by Fritz Eberhardt. The first, "On Binding" was delivered at the opening of Hand Bookbinding Today; An International Art, at Temple University in Philadelphia in 1978. The second, "Preserving the Materials of a Heritage" was given at a 1981 seminar. In it, Eberhardt talks about the book conservation challenges he and his wife faced after settling in the Philadelphia area in the mid-1950s. The third is "Bookbinding: The Craft, The Skill, The Trade, and The Art" given 1983 at the "Art and Craft of the Book: A Celebration" seminar held at Dickinson College.

Three Lectures  is printed on Frankfurt Laid paper in Linotype digital Aldus and Don Rash's own "experimental" blackletter font FritzGotische for the title and headings. The frontispiece was printed as a moku hanga woodblock print by Rash after a photograph in John & Mary's Journal by A. Pierce Bounds where the third lecture was originally published. The case binding is covered in a pastepaper with printed paper labels on spine and front board. An example of gediegene and zünftige (solid and befitting the craft/trade) bookbinding in the finest German tradition.
  • Eberhardt, Fritz. Three Lectures. Plains, PA: Boss Dog Press, 2014. 
  • 8vo. paper-covered boards, labels on spine and front cover, top edge cut, other edges uncut iv, 39+(1) pages 
  • Limited to 100 numbered copies, 70 numbered and signed by Don Rash.
  • Price: $250.00 
  • Copies in sheets for binding may also be available from the press.
Fritz Eberhardt was born in Silesia (originally part of Germany; now part of Poland) in 1917, he suffered from polio at an early age, which resulted in a permanent limp. After an apprenticeship he studied bookbinding formally under Ignatz Wiemeler at the Leipzig Academy for Graphic Arts, and calligraphy under the prodigy Rudo Spemann, and later, in Offenbach, with Hermann Zapf. Following the end of the war, he walked out of the Russian occupied zone and into West Germany. There he met his future wife, Trudi Luffert, who was also a binder. In the early 1950s the Eberhardts came to Philadelphia, where he was employed by the Library Company. Within a few years they were able to move to the farm on Old Sumneytown Pike where they would cement their reputations as two of the finest American hand binders. In addition to his binding work, Eberhardt was internationally recognized for his calligraphy. Until his death in 1998, he was a continuing voice for the artistic and cultural value of bookbinding and book works, from his early dealings with the Philadelphia book world through the debates on standards and the beginnings of institutional book arts instruction, as well as a proponent of a more professional approach for our book arts organizations. Don Rash was among his most accomplished students. [From the Guild of Book Workers 100th Anniversary Exhibition Retrospective] Depicted is his binding on Felix Timmermans, Pieter Bruegel, 1950, featuring his signature hand-cut finishing tools. 

Eberhardt was also the focus of an oral history recorded in 1993 by archivist Valerie Metzger that was published in the Guild of Book Workers' Journal, volume XXXVII, number 2, Fall 2002. This article is a must-read for those interested in the work of Eberhardt and the traditions and circumstances of bookbinding in Germany during the 1930s and 40s, but also for those working in the book arts. The introduction shared via the Guild listserv can be read here. Eberhardt was also the focus of an illustrated article "Binds That Time: Homage to a Master Bookbinder" by Tony Haverstick, published  in the June 1998 (vol 3, nr. 6) issue of the now defunct Biblio magazine. Here a link to his obituary from the Abbey Newsletter at CoOL.

Binding covered in original pastepaper
Click here to see how the pastepaper was made on the Boss Dog Press blog

Moku hanga woodblock print by Don Rash

Photograph in John & Mary's Journal by A. Pierce Bounds
 

With his Eberhardtiana series. Don Rash pays very fitting homage to his Meister and mentor Fritz Eberhardt. These lectures are as relevant today as when they were given over 30 years ago, and touch on all aspects of the life of private practice bookbinders, book artists, and conservators.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Pressbengel in Czech, 1925

Back more intently to my Ernst Collin bibliography project, I've been finding more writings in new to me publications published both under his name and some of his pseudonyms (more about those in another post). During those searches I came across a title in Czech I had not seen before, even in WorldCat searches:


Google elegantly translates this as "Wrench: The book talks between the aesthetic bibliophile and bookbinder on the blade forged." Regardless. After further searches in WorldCat, located a total of two records, one at the Czech National Library, the other at the Bavarian State Library. The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek does not have a copy. I had also not seen it in Mejer (1925) or Mejer/Herbst (1933), Bibliographie der Buchbindereiliteratur

However, Mejer did show two articles by him in Vetrinka, a Czechoslovakian periodical – "Rozhovor o polo francouzske vazbe" and "Rozhovor o vazbe knih." Both articles from 1923/24, but Mejer didn't provide a better citation. Any Czech spekers who can help with good translations of these titles please use the Comment form at bottom. Thank you.

Here the bibliographic information for the book.
Author:          Ernst Collin
Publisher:      Praha : [Translated by Arthur Novák], 1925
Series  Title:  Knihy o knihách, Svazek 1. [Books about books, Volume 1]
Description:  52 pp., 1 "list;" 8°
Published as part of  series, it was nice to see that this was the first volume - very fitting.

I located a few copies in the Czech Republic, so using Google Translate I wrote to the dealer and asked if available... Book arrived about a week later, i.e. today.



Prag, 1925
Books about books / First Volume

From the colophon at right:
This book was translated and published at his own expense [by]
Arthur Novak in Prague. [It was] printed [by] Kryl and Scotti
in Novem Jicín in Moravia in [an edition of] 540 copies;
Of those 40 [are on] Zanders handmade paper
Numbering:

So, this is one of the un-numbered 500 copies.

And here with its "siblings" including the 1922 original, various Mandragora German reprints, the Italian and my English translations, and other publications Collin was involved with.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Designing Spines

In designing bookbindings, the spine is one of the defining characteristics because it is often integral to the structure and what is most visible of the book when shelved. Below a series of images relating to the design of spines in chronological order starting with Paul Adam's 1898 Die praktischen Arbeiten des Buchbinders (Practical Bookbinding, 1903, as it was titled in the English edition). The captions for the images are often pedantically charming.

"Simple spines"
Paul Adam (1898),  Die praktischen Arbeiten des Buchbinders

Only use German (fraktur) faces for titles if the book is printed using fraktur,
and Roman faces if the book is printed in Roman.
In other words, don't mix typefaces.
Paul Adam (1898), Die praktischen Arbeiten des Buchbinders

The "better" 1/4 linen binding. The caption goes on to say that the proportions are to be seen as fixed
stadards with linen from spine and corners each covering 1/3 the width of the board...
The top part of the image shows the appropriate rounding for spine/foredge.
Paul Kersten (1909), Die Buchbinderei und das Zeichnen des Buchbinders
für Fortbildings und  Handwerker-schulen
.

The spines of "better" 1/4 linen bindings
Paul Kersten (1909), Die Buchbinderei und das Zeichnen des Buchbinders
für Fortbildings und  Handwerker-schulen
.

The spines of "better" 1/4 leather "extra" bindings with laced-on boards.
Paul Kersten (1909), Die Buchbinderei und das Zeichnen des Buchbinders für Fortbildings und  Handwerker-schulen.

Colors: This diagram shows how colors should be selected for binding designs,
with the lower diagrams  depicting (from top to bottom) the spine, sides, label, and top edge decoration.
Thorwald Henningsen (1935), Vorlagen für Buchbinder

The design of the bindings would then be depicted as above.
Thorwald Henningsen (1935), Vorlagen für Buchbinder

During my apprenticeship we had kept "spines" like these made of binders board in the appropriate thickness with swatches of the covering materials for spine and sides glued on including stamping the title with the selected face, size, and color foil at the appropriate height, measured from the bottom. As most of day-to-day work was "library binding," all done by hand, this would ensure that the title runs would be uniform. If a title changed size, measure title placement from bottom would ensure that it was still on the same level when on the shelf.What makes This book interesting is that the text is tri-lingual, German, French, and Italian as the book was designed for trades schools in Switzerland.

"Hand tooling" of the spine. The diagrams work the binder from a sketch to design,
show how the spine should be devided, title placement and spacing as well as suggestions for design.
Fritz Wiese (1937), Werkzeichnen Für Buchbinder

Originally published in German in 1983, this book continues the tradition of depicting spines and
book designs in this way. Like the German original, the captions are charmingly pedantic. Zeier wrote this
book for amateurs, one of the first in German to do so, but his roots as a teacher in trade and design schools
are front and center.
Franz Zeier (1990), Books, Boxes, and Portfolios.

Franz Zeier (1990), Books, Boxes, and Portfolios.

Smitten by this book when I first bought it in German back in 1984, I have given a copy of the English edition to just about every one of my students and interns as I feel it is the best introduction to the German case binding in the English language and will allow those without full binderies to learn to construct a variety of bindings and other structures.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Der Buchbinderlehrling, 1927-43

Back in December of 2013, I received my first issue of Der Buchbinderlehrling (The Bookbinding Apprentice) a “journal” published between 1927 and 1943 for apprentices in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland as an insert in the Allgemeiner Anzeiger für Buchbindereien, the German bookbinding trade publication late 19th century and most of the 20th century. A journal like this was a bridge to trade school that continued the overall education of the young apprentices because they were dropped from the university-bound track. Subjects included social studies, math, and science as they related to binding. This also included paper making, leather tanning and parchment making, cloth, and in-depth engineering of bookbinding machines...

Since December I have been able to collect all volumes of the publication (just missing one issue that I will get via interlibrary loan), in part thanks to the rather limited publication period. All bindings are different, some came from the same owner, one has a gilt top-edge, and one is as issued in pamphlet bindings. Taken in aggregate, these volumes portray the life of the apprentice and the changing economic and the politicization of the crafts in chilling details with articles written by all the leading binders and educators of the time.

Im letzten Dezember bekam ich meinen ersten gebundenen Jahrgang vom Buchbinderlehrling ein beihelft zum Allgemeinen Anzeiger für Buchbindereien (AAB) das zwischen 1927 und 1943 für Lehrlinge in Deutschland, Österreich, und der Schweiz herausgegeben wurde. Eine Zeitschrift wie diese festigte den Lernstoff von Berufschule und Betrieb und diente der Weiterentwicklung der Lehrlinge. Themen waren Sozialkunde, Mathe (Fachrechnen) und Allgemeinbildung. sowie alles zur Buchbinderei.

Seit Dezember konnte ich alle Jahrgänge sammeln wobei nur ein Heft fehlt das ich per Fernleihe beziehen werde. Dies ist großenteils Dank der kurzen Dauer des Hefts. Alle Einbände sind anders, manche kamen vom gleichen Besitzer, eins ist ein Halbfranzband mit Goldschnitt, ein Anderes das Heft wie es im AAB kam, Gesehen als Ganzes zeigen diese Bände das leben eines Lehrlings sowie die Änderungen in Wirtschaft und Politik, manchmal erschütternd so, durch Aufsätze von den führenden Buchbindern und Fachlehrer.

Shelfie with all volumes together (1927 – 1943).
"Shelfie" mit allen Jahrgängen beisammen (1927 – 1943).



Quarter-vellum with vellum tips and laced through slips; quarter-cloth with pastepaper sides; stiffened paper binding with cloth spine

Halb-pergament mit verdeckten Pergamentecken und durchgezogenen Riemen; halb-Leinen mit Kleisterpapier auf den Deckeln; Steifbroschure mit Gewebe am Rücken.
Vol 1, 1927 - Vol 3, 1929.
1. Jahrgang, 1927 - 3. Jg., 1929.

Title page of first volume.
Titelblatt des ersten Jahrgangs.

Edition of 16,000 copies with first volume.
Auflage von 16,000 Stück angefangen mit dem ersten Jahrgang.



 Millimeter binding with vellum trim; quarter-leather with marbled paper sides and gilt top edge; quarter-leather binding with paper sides and calligraphed spine label.

Edelpappband mit Pergament; halb-Leder mit mamoriertem Papier und Goldschnitt; halb-Leder mit Papier und hand-beschrifteten Titelschild.

Vol 4, 1930; vol 5 - 7, 1931 - 1933; vol 8, 4/1934 - 3/1935 (Note change in publication from calendar year).
4. Jahrgang, 1930; 5 - 7 Jg., 1931 - 1933; 8. Jg., 4/1934 - 3/1935 (Erscheinungsänderung von Kalendarjahr).

Edition of 6,000 copies with volume 7, 1933.
Auflage von 6,000 Stück ab dem 7. Jahrgang, 1933.

Volume 4, 1930 signed and bound by [apprentice] in 1931. This volume also has notes regarding missing inserts, like the page below with samples tipped on.
Der 4. Jahrgang, 1930 signiert und datiert vom [Lehrling] 1931.
Dieser Band hat auch Notizen zu fehlenden Beilagen wie die unten.

Also from volume 4, an example of the tipped-in inserts that could be found in almost all volumes.  I've been very lucky in that only a few seem to be missing. This one is for Japanese papers, including a wood veneer at bottom right.
Auch vom 4. Jahrgang, ein Beispiel der Beilagen die in fast jedem Jahrgang zu finden waren. Ich hatte großen Glück in daß ich fast alle anscheinend habe. Diese ist für japanische Papiere, inkl. ein Furnierholz.




Quarter-cloth with paper sides; loose as issued in wrappers and untrimmed.

Halb-Leinen mit Papier; broschiert und unbeschnitten im Papierumschlag.

Volume 9 - 10, 1935 - 1937; volume 11, 1937 - 1938.
9-10 Jahrgänge, 1935 - 1937; 11. Jg., 1937 - 1938.
Volume 9 - 10, 1935 - 1937, bound 1942 during the first year as an apprentice.
9-10 Jahrgänge, 1935 - 1937, gebunden 1942 während des ersten Lehrjahrs.

Illustrations from article about wrapper designs in volume 10, 1936 - 1937.
Abbildungen aus einen Aufsatz über Umschlagsentwürfe aus dem 10. Jg., 1936 - 1937.



Two millimeter bindings, one with pastepaper sides, the other with paper marbled using oil paints.

Zwei Edelpappbände, eins mit Kleisterpapier, das Andere mit Öltunkpapier.

Volume 12, 1938 - 1939; volume 13, 1939 - 1941.
12. Jahrgang, 1938 - 1939; 13. Jg., 1940 - 1941.

Volume 12, 1938 - 1939, was missing the first 4 pages... Interlibrary loan was able to provide those.
Beim 12. Jahrgang, 1938 - 1939, fehlten die ersten 4 Seiten... Die Fernleihabteilung konnte helfen.

Here perhaps the reason – Hitler's 50th Birthday.
Hier vielleicht der Grund – Hitlers 50. Geburtstag.



Three more millimeter bindings with pastepaper sides.
Noch drei Edelpappbände mit Kleisterpapier bezogen.

Volume 14, 1940 - 1941; Volume 15, 1941 - 1942; Volume 16, 1942 - 1943.
14. Jahrgang, 1939 - 1940; 15. Jg., 1941 - 1942; 16. Jg., 1942 - 1943.

All three volumes had the same owner's stamp. On the facing page announcement of the annual apprentice binding competition with the Buchbinderlehrling as the set book.
Alle 3 Jahrgänge hatten den selben Stempel vom Besitzer. Auf der Gegenseite, die Ankündigung des jahrlichen Lehrlingswettbewerb mit dem Buchbinderlehrling as Pflichtband.

Note 8/17/2014: The owner's stamp says "C. A. Brede, Hundestr. 11," and several of the other books have a dealer note with "C.A. Brede." Just thought to do a search on Brede and "Hundestr 11" brought me to a list, part of a wider site of "who knows what"conspiracy theories and rants against free masons and service organizations like Rotary and Lions...

Notize 17.8.2014: Der Besitzerstempel gibt "C. A. Brede, Hundestr. 11" an, und einige der anderen Bände eine Notize vom Antiquar mit "C.A. Brede." Eine Google Suche von Brede und "Hundestr 11" brachte mich zu einer liste die Teil einer Webseite mit Links zu lauter Verschwörungstheorien, unter anderem gegen Freimaurer und Vereinigungen wie Rotary und Lions.
Brede, Carl-August, Wakenitzufer 14, Lübeck, Buchbindermeister
Haase, Albert, Hundestr. 11, Lübeck, Buchbindermeister, - Zum Füllhorn -, 1945 Bibliothekar (Worked for the/Arbeitete für die Stadtbibliothek Lübeck)

Math for bookbinders. On the facing page the familiar way of depicting how to place raised cords on the spines.
Fachrechnen für Buchbinder. Auf der Gegenseite Bündeeinteilung für Halbfranzbandrücken.



The Buchbinderlehrling ceased publication after volume 16, 1943. After the War, Das Falzbein appeared as the journal for apprentices.

Mit dem 16. Jahrgang, 1943 war mit dem Buchbinderlehrling schluß. Nach dem Krieg erschien Das Falzbein als die Fachzeitschrift für Lehrlinge.


Special thanks to the Antiquariat Peter Ibbetson from whom most of the volumes were acquired.

Ganz besonderen Dank an das Antiquariat Peter Ibbetson von dem die meisten Einbände stammen.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Ernst Collin on Gerhard Gerlach, 1930

Received one of my interlibrary loan requests today, an article by Ernst Collin about bindings being exhibited by Meister der Einbandkunst at the Bugra exhibition in Leipzig. The Bugra was THE most significant publishing and binding trade fair in Germany at that time.

In the article titled Die alte, neue Bugramesse: Was die Meister der Einbandkunst zeigten,Collin described the refocusing of the Bugra back to its roots and away from a more general trades oriented exhibition.He also provided context for the Bugra and among other things commented on the contrast between the high art of French binding and the dominance of simple paperback bindings on poor paper for the majority of trade books.

Then there was this still new group, Meister der Einbandkunst, with a modest exhibition of bindings by established binders and lesser known members. Given the limited space available to him, Collin focused on several binders chosen in no particular order of significance in order to highlight their work. Among them Gerhard Gerlach who emigrated to the US with his American wife Katheryn. From the retrospective part of the Guild of Book Workers 100th Anniversary Exhibition:
Gerhard Gerlach was born in 1907 in Germany, apprenticed to a binder for three years and studied with Ignatz Wiemeler at the State Academy of Graphic Arts in Leipzig, attaining his certificate and diploma as a master binder before emigrating to the United States. He was brought to the USA by a young American he met at the Academy, Katheryn Edwards. Together they formed a remarkable bookbinding team, crafting not only fine bindings but fine binders. Upon arriving in the USA in 1934, he taught at Columbia University. At his Bookbinding Workshop, opened in 1945, he partnered for a short while with Hope G. Weil and later Charlotte Ullman. Among his students were Eva Clarke, Margaret Lecky, Inez Pennybacker, Hope Weil, Arno Werner, and Laura Young. Gerhard Gerlach joined the Guild in 1939 remaining a member until his death in 1968. To honor his contributions, the Guild mounted a memorial exhibition of his bindings at the Grolier Club in 1971.
Here an edited composite of the Collin article with the section on Gerlach.

Die alte, neue Bugramesse: Was die Meister der Einbandkunst zeigten,
Allgemeiner Anzeiger für Buchbindereien, Vol 45, Nr 12, 1930 (244-245)

Given the significance of the Bugra and Gerlach's connection to Wiemeler I searched online to see if any bindings were depicted. Like winning the lotto, all the Gerlach bindings happened to be for sale very recently and were depicted at Peter L. Masi – books (along with many other bindings). With permission I reproduce them here with Collin's translated comments.

Design study for Hegel, Delius, Seinen Briefen


Hegel, Delius, Seinen Briefen, 1918, #54, bound by Gerhard Gerlach


Of Hegel, Delius, Seinen Briefen, 1918, #54, Collin wrote "that the binding is divided into two sets of parallel panels in which the outside ones have tightly spaced parallel lines tooled in blind. This allows the grain of the leather to stand out more in the untooled panels, but unfortunately the denseness of the tooled lines obscure the natural grain of the leather."

 Collin also singles out the remaining bindings below for the way in which the leather, the design of the bindings, and the tooling whether blind or gold. stand out positively.


Hofmannsthal, Deutsche Epigramme, Munchen, 1923, #83, bound by Gerhard Gerlach




Carl Burckhardt, Kleinasiatische Reise, Munchen, 1925, bound by Gerhard Gerlach


von Aue, Borchardt, Der arme Heinrich, Munchen, 1925

He concludes by saying that this young binder has shown himself to be a "hope awakening personality" for the future.

The work of Wiemeler and Dorfner was part of the "new objectivity" (neue Sachlichkeit) that was  "Americanism, cult of the objective, the hard fact, the predilection for functional work, professional conscientiousness, and usefulness." To the Nazis it was degenerate, but even then the style was adapted well to serve their "need" for presentation bindings and other accessories, but that is a story for another time.

The Gerhard & Kathryn Gerlach collection was recently sold by Peter L. Masi Books and those wishing to study the bindings, artwork, correspondence... will want to travel to Indiana University's Lilly Library in Bloomington - a most fitting home. Give them time to process and catalog first though - it was just acquired.