Showing posts with label History of the Trade. Show all posts
Showing posts with label History of the Trade. Show all posts

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Binding an Empire

I've had this poem parked for future sharing, but prompted by the American Bookbinders Museum in San Francisco that started sharing bookbinding songs on its blog (and here), I decided to translate this poem that was read at the German Bookbinder's Convention in Berlin, 1882. At the celebrations, the "Altmeister" Wihelm Hoppenworth presented the following poetic tribute to his Imperial Majesty, the German Kaiser... Hoppenworth was "Obermeister" of the Berlin bookbinding guild at the time.

Here the German original from the Teltower Kreisblatt, August 26, 1882 (pg 3). Teltow is a part of Berlin. A translation into English is below with links to articles in Wiki about the historical events mentioned. Die mit Deutschkenntnissen können einfach die Abbildungen lesen... Links zu längst vergessenen Ereignißen sind in der Übersetzung ins Englische...

The Kaiser is the best bookbinder, because
He bound the fatherland together
Into a single glorious volume.
At Düppel, back in the day, and at Alsen,
That's where the Kaiser began his "folding."
With his folder of steel,
He stroked the Danes out of Schleswig-Holstein.
At Königsgrätz with mighty strength
The Kaiser began to "sew" the book.
And after only 8 days it was known,
that he understood what he was doing.
And all who didn't stand by his side,
They were simply "bound in."
And, then came the great day at Sedan,
That's when the last work was done,
That's where the principle enemy was captured,
And, that's where the book was cased-in.
And before one even noticed,
The deluxe binding Germany was completed.
And as is common with bookbinders,
He thought about the finishing,
And carried that out magnificently,
At Versailles, in the reflection of the imperial crown.
Therefore, you Masters old and young,
At the thought of this mighty memory:
Fill your glasses with noble wine,
And with mighty voices pronounce.
The Kaiser with a thunderous cheer,
He who bound Germany into a glorious volume
And with Alsace-Lorraine gave it a "gilt edge!"

It goes without saying that this pronouncement was heartily cheered by all the guests.
In 1936, the Allgemeiner Anzeiger für Buchbindereien (pg 341) republished this poem on the occasion of the 60th birthday of Bruno Müllers, director of the Fachschule (the trade school) of the bookbinding guild of Berlin. Mentioned were his grandfather Friedrich Wilhelm Hoppenworth and his Onkel Wilhelm Hoppenworth, the same who read the poem above, both very highly regarded Guild masters. Wilhelm and Georg Collin will likely also have been in attendance.

Fast forward 54 years...

The times however had changed, and instead of a Kaiser and the Second German Empire (the first was the Holy Roman Empire) there was now the Third Reich, and "a new bookbinder, Adolf Hitler, who understood that the "binding" Germany needed to be restored after having been frivolously and maliciously torn apart... This new bookbinder, Hitler, made it his, and our task to restore this binding so that no power on earth will ever be able to tear it apart again..." This was written by Emil Kloth (link in German), a bookbinder, former marxist and labor organizer, who disillusioned by the collapse of the German Empire following WW I became a committed nationalist and Nazi functionary. He was also the author of Geschichte des deutschen Buchbinderverbandes published in two volumes by the Deutscher Buchbinderverband, Berlin 1910 – 1913. He is also the subject of the recently published Emil Kloth (1864 - 1943) : vom marxistischen Gewerkschaftsvorsitzenden zum bekennenden Nazi by Rüdiger Zimmermann

I have not found other politicizations of bookbinding in other countries, but with the election of the Nazis in 1933, the total political alignment (Gleichschaltung) of all trades, social organizations, ... began. This also carried over into design aesthetics for works produced by bookbinders, demonstrated by the works of Otto Dorfner, Heinrich Luers, Frieda Tiersch, Franz Weisse, among others, as well as their students. It was also clearly evident in the literature such as Der Buchbinderlehrling, the Allgemeiner Anzeiger für Buchbindereien, even the Jahrbuch der Einbandkunst. After the war, some of these continued working, and adapted to whatever political systems ruled where they lived. For Dorfner, who remained in East Germany (the DDR), this meant producing bindings extolling the virtues of that system and its leaders out of conviction, necessity, or just convenience... Both are topics for future posts.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Bookbinding as Rehabilitation | Buchbinderei als Rehabilitation

Back in 2012, Jeff Peachey posted a piece on "Bookbinding for the Nervous Convalescent" based around William Dunton's  Occupation Therapy: A Manual for Nurses  (Philadelphia and London: W.B. Saunders and Co., 1918), and asked if there were other publications on the uses of bookbinding for rehabilitation... Then in a recent thread on SHARP-L and Exlibris, a David Levy pointed to a post on his blog about a stroke victim learning to write with his left hand. This led to a discussion of adaptations to compensate for these kinds of challenges... An interesting discussion.

2012 schrieb Jeff Peachey auf seinem Blog ein Aufsatz mit dem Titel "Bookbinding for the Nervous Convalescent" (Buchbinden für den Nervenkranken) in dem er zu William Dunton's  Occupation Therapy: A Manual for Nurses  (Philadelphia and London: W.B. Saunders and Co., 1918) fragte ob es noch andere Texte zum Thema Buchbinderei zur Rehabilitation gäbe. Dann vor kurzer Zeit eine Diskussion auf SHARP-L und Exlibris in der David Levy auf seinen Blog ein Opfer von einem Schlaganfall beschrieb der sich beibrachte mit der linken Hand zu schreiben. Die Diskussion ging dann auf weitere Anpassungen um für Behinderungen zu kompensieren ein. Interessant.

From Adam, "Der Unterricht der einarmigen Kriegsverletzten in Düsseldorf," pt 1.

While not handwriting, there are some very interesting articles that were published during and after WW I in German on teaching bookbinding to veterans and others with damaged or missing limbs. This is accomplished with prosthesis that have been adapted for holding tools, including “plug and play” functionality. These are best illustrated in Pt. 1 of Adam article and in the Proebster article.

Obowhl sie nicht von Schreiben oder Handschrift handeln, wurden einige sehr interessant Aufsätze zum Thema Buchbinderei als/und Rehabilitation während des WK I und dannach geschrieben in denen mann beschrieb wie man "Einarmigen" die Buchbinderei auf recht hohem Niveau beibringen konnte, bzw diese es ausüben konnten. Dieses wurde mit Prothesen die eine gewisse "plug and play" Funktionalität hatten, und wurden am besten in Teil 1 von Paul Adam und in dem Proebster Aufsatz beschrieben. Die ganzen Aufsätze können als PDF über die Links in diesem Aufsatz gelesen werden.

From Adam, "Der Unterricht der einarmigen Kriegsverletzten in Düsseldorf," pt 1.

Cutting on the boardshear
From Adam, "Der Unterricht der einarmigen Kriegsverletzten in Düsseldorf," pt 1.

Auf Deutsch gehts mit den Links weiter zum kompletten Aufsatz mit mehr Bildern
See the link below for more images.

Adam, Paul. „Der Unterricht der einarmigen Kriegsverletzten in Düsseldorf.“ Archiv für Buchbinderei, 1916-1918. Pt 1 | Pt 2 | Pt 3 (Complete article with all three parts)

In the Allgemeiner Anzeiger für Buchbindereien (1927) I found on page 837 an article by Emil Kloth entitled "One-armed Bookbinders." Below and quick and dirty translation and paraphrasing. Original German not PC by today’s standards…

In dem Allgemeiner Anzeiger für Buchbindereien (1927) fand ich auf Seite 837 einen Aufsatz von Emil Kloth mit dem Titel "Einarmige Buchbinder." Auf den Link unter dem Bild klicken für den Aufsatz auf Deutsch...

Beginning of the article from the Allgemeiner Anzeiger für Buchbindereien
Anfang des Aufsatzes vom Allgemeiner Anzeiger für Buchbindereien
Ganzen Aufsatz hier lesen

Translation of article illustrated above.

"One-armed Bookbinders"

Ones duty to go beyond sym/empathy with the maimed/physically disabled and to help them into avocations that can provide for them. Mention of homes and workshops to help in this healing process, most with workshops to serve the young and adults. The article does make the point to mention that none of these are veterans, but rather those who were maimed such as losing an arm in work related accidents and may still be of school age.

The Zeitschrift für Krüppelfürsorge, Heft 5/6, 1927 (89-96) describes in the illustrated article "Über die Arbeitsgänge im Buchbinderhandwerk bei Armamputierten" by Dr. Proebster  how young people can be prepared for the bookbinding trade. Only one of the apprentices as a fore-arm stump, the others have upper arm stumps. Cited is a Dr. Biesalksi who “says that the best prostheses is the stump,” or the stump still contains a certain amount of strength and mobility and facilitates the use of prosthetic devices. However, prosthetic devices are limb replacements, not replacements for limbs.

Sewing and rounding
From Proebster, "Über die Arbeitsgänge im Buchbinderhandwerk bei Armamputierten"

Twelve further illustrations depict one-armed individuals sewing, round and backing using German press with “press nut,” laying on gold for edge gilding, covering a spine, paring leather, and tooling. One graduate of the program is satisfactorily working full-time in a Berlin bindery, and another completed his apprenticeship early with very good notes. His examination pieces were 2 ¼-leather bindings. The author also notes a well-known guild master who lost his left arm to a steam press but was able to continue working and now owns his own bindery with 20 employees. “Much can be achieved with a strong/resolute will.”

Paring leather corners
From Proebster, "Über die Arbeitsgänge im Buchbinderhandwerk bei Armamputierten"

Now we come to the usual “but…” It is wrong to say that based on these experiences/reports that binding is a trade suitable for cripples. However, Dr. Proebster does just that by citing a passage from Paul Kersten’s Der Buchbinderlehrling, 2nd ed, pg 44 that states that “frail people are completely unsuited [for the bookbinding trade] because one needs strong arm and leg muscles for making gilt edges or embossing [working the machinery], and further notes that the success of the Oscar-Helene-Home prove that Kersten’s attitude is wrong. Even in trades it not just the muscles but also the will that determine success…. We must acknowledge that those with physical limitations but otherwise sound minds will want/need to become contributing members of society via the trades, something we must encourage and facilitate.

Turning-in at the spine
From Proebster, "Über die Arbeitsgänge im Buchbinderhandwerk bei Armamputierten"

It seems to me, however, that Dr. Proebster overreached to a greater degree than Paul Kersten because what Kersten wrote is undoubtedly true in that his is a reaction to the still held view that the [bookbinding] trade is good enough for the physically and mentally weak individuals. This has nothing to do with animosity towards amputees. Dr. Proebster is correct in stating that society is required to help those less fortunate, but is cannot demand that one trade alone take this task upon itself – every trade should do this…

Emil Kloth
(Ist Secretary of the International Bookbinders’ Union 1907-20)

Hier beispiele der vollendeten Arbeiten
Here some examples of completed work

Lacquered batik; hand tooling, handmade bosses after design by Paul Adam
From Adam, "Der Unterricht der einarmigen Kriegsverletzten in Düsseldorf," pt 2.

Boxes on punched, tooled, and painted leather
From Adam, "Der Unterricht der einarmigen Kriegsverletzten in Düsseldorf," pt 2.

During WW II there was also Zechlin, Ruth. Soldaten Werkbuch für Freizeit und Genesung. Ravensburg: Otto Maier Verlag, 1943 (2nd ed). This continued to be sold after the war with a label pasted over “Soldaten” so that it read “Jungen” instead. Interestingly, the title page and images were not updated so it is still possible to see references to the original purpose of the book. It was designed for convalescing soldiers and those on leave, and starts off with instructions for making a Bett-tisch (bed table) for making the quite complex projects on. These include wood working, origami,bookbinding, dolls, all manner of crafts really. Below some images showing the cover with pasted-on label, title page, the Bett-Tisch, and examples of bookbinding...

Während des WK II gab es auch Ruth Zechlin's Soldaten Werkbuch für Freizeit und Genesung. Ravensburg: Otto Maier Verlag, 1943 (2. Ausgabe). Dieses wurde nach dem Krieg als Jungen Werkbuch weiter verkauft, aber mit aufgeklebter "Korrektur" des Titels... Die Titelseite sowie Abbildungen wurden aber nicht ausgewechselt so, daß der Ursprung des Buches klar ist. Geschrieben wurde es geschrieben "für den verwundeten Soldaten im Lazarett und auch den Landser, der längere Zeit im Quartier liegt, so gibt es manche langeweilige Stunde..."Das Buch fängt mit dem "Bett-Tisch an der benutzt werden kann zum Lesen, Spielen, oder auch Basteln. Bastlearbeiten sind sehr vielseitig und beinhalten Origami, Puppen, kleine Holzarbeiten, aber auch Buchbinden und Papparbeiten. Unten einige Abbildungen.

Making the case/book cover

Improvised sewing frame

These challenges are still very much with us. The Wiltshire Barn Project in the UK "uses the therapeutic qualities of craft bookbinding to assist casualty rehabilitation and to develop employment opportunities" and "offers City & Guilds instruction on Level 1 and Level 2 courses in craft bookbinding. Each stage will lead to an award, and successful completion of the two stages will lead to a nationally recognised certificate." The uses of crafts in this way also comes up regularly in the literature, here an example, especially as too many who serve their countries return with traumatic injuries. Here a link to an article about one veteran who learned the craft of shoemaking and is also working to develop better prostheses.View also his TEDx talk on the subject. In the USA there also is the Combat Paper Project where veterans cut up uniforms, beat them into a pulp, and form them into sheets of paper to reclaim their uniforms as art and express their experiences with the military.

Diese Herausfoderungen sind noch mit uns. Das Wiltshire Barn Project in der UK benutzt die therapeutischen Qualitäten der handwerklichen Buchbinderei als Reha mit dem Ziel dieses als Beruf auszuüben können und bietet deshalb auch die erforderlichen Zertifikate an die auf nationaler Ebene anerkannt sind. Die Anwendung von handwerklichen Tätigkeiten auf diese Art erscheint auch regelmäßig in der Literatur, hier ein Beispiel aus den USA, besonders da viel zu viele die ihr Land dienen mit traumatischen Wunden zurückkehren. Hier ein Beispiel von einem Soldaten der das Schuhmacherhandwerk erlernt hat und die Entwicklung besserer Prothesen vorantreibt. Man kann auch seiner TEDx rede zum thema zuhören. In den USA gibt es auch das Combat Paper Project in dem Veteranen aus ihren Uniformen Paper machen und so ihre Erlebnisse versuchen zu bewältigen.

If anyone has citations to similar articles or mentions of the uses of bookbinding/book arts for rehabiliation, please share them via the comments below. I know there are some in the English bookbinding literature...

Wenn Leser von anderen Schriften zur Anwendung von Buchbinderei und Buchkunst als Rehabilitation kennt, bitte unten im Kommentarkasten teilen.

See also comments below for links to related articles and posts...

Siehe auch Kommentare unten für Links zu mehr Aufsätzen...

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Werbung - Julius Hager, Leipzig

Advertisement for Julius Hager, Leipzig from the Deutsche Einbandkunst catalog edited and produced by Ernst Collin for the Jakob-Krauße-Bund, 1921.

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 on 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
Don Rash's Eberhardtiana series 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.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Renate Mesmer on her Apprenticeship in Germany

Renate at AAB
Listen to Renate Mesmer, Eric Weinmann Head of Conservation at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. talk with Steve Miller at the OxBow PBI about her bookbinding apprenticeship in Germany.

Previously, she was Assistant Head of Conservation at the Folger, Director of Book and Paper Conservation at the Centro del bel Libro Ascona, Switzerland, and Head of Conservation at the Speyer’s State Archives in Germany. She, like many apprentices of the day started at  age 16, earning her Meister in bookbinding from the Chamber of Crafts of Palatinate in Germany. She has been very active teaching at Paper and Book Intensive (PBI), for the Guild of Book Workers (GBW), American Academy of Bookbinding (AAB), and elsewhere.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Conrad Blum, Buchbinder

A month or so ago, via eBay, I acquired this bill from the bookbinder Conrad Blum in Offenbach dated 21 October, 1842. Offenbach at that time was part of the Grand Duchy of Hessen and is now considered part of the Frankfurt (Main) metropolitan area.

Although fluent in German, the handwriting style of the time is not my strong point. I'm also not sure what currency is being referred to (Gulden or Thaler), especially as the Customs Union (Zollverein) led by Prussia was growing in member states at that time. A more contemporary comparison would be the expansion of the Eurozone... Hessen-Darmstadt of which Offenbach was a part joined in 1837.

A high-resolution PDF of the bill has been saved here. Any assistance in transcribing VERY welcome.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Reference Collection Development

Interesting collection of reading material arrived in my reference library over the past month or so…

First, two titles by Paul Adam. The first is Lehrbücher der Buchbinderei: Die einfachen handwerksmässigen Buchbinderarbeiten ohne Zuhilfenahme von Maschinen (1924) a thin manual describing the most basic and essential tasks to be completed in a bindery leaving out machines. (boardshears and presses don’t count). Obviously written for apprentices, this one came from the public library in Bayreuth and showed a fairly active circulation in the first decade of it’s life. Then came the war… Paper not great, but lots of provenance. It’s also the kind of title that would have been in every proper trade school library and larger bindery. Needs some TLC, but then there is the bit about the shoemakers kids (and I had 7 generations of master shoemakers in my family)…

Illustration from Adam, Lehrbücher der Buchbinderei:
Die einfachen handwerksmässigen Buchbinderarbeiten
ohne Zuhilfenahme von Maschinen

The other Adam title in this batch is Die deutscheste Art der Einbandverzierung (1928), a Festschrift for the 47th gathering of the Bundes Deutscher Buchbinder-Innungen. Not sure why it was the titled “the most German of binding decoration techniques” (tooling), but looks to be an interesting read. That was “bound” into a simple card wrapper… Like the one above, needs some TLC to make sure the single leaves don’t fall out.

Next up E(rich) A(dolf) Bogeng’s Der Bucheinband: ein Handbuch für Buchbinder und Bücherfreunde (1940). Title translated is Bookbinding: a handbook for bookbinders and bibliophiles. It’s an interesting overview of the book and book/trade history broken down into by general history; structural elements;  decorative techniques; binders and bibliophiles, … I found the arrangement the interesting part – there are no illustrations. Bogeng was one of THE German writers about bookbinding and bibliophilic culture in the late 19th, first half of the 20th century. This one was reprinted in several editions.

I also acquired two volumes of Der Buchbinderlehrling (The Bookbinding Apprentice) a “journal” published for apprentices in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland by the Allgemeiner Anzeiger für Buchbindereien, the 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...

Years I received were 1932 and 1938 with 12 issues each. Quite a contrast between the two.

First in 1932, an article by Ernst Collin and the first in a series titled Bedeutende Männer des Buchbinderhandwerks (Important Men in Bookbinding) – the subject, Ernst's father Georg Collin, Court Bookbinder who died in 1918. Ernst' Der Pressbengel was dedicated to him. While most of Collin’s writing is academic, this was written with a much more casual tone making it more accessible for apprentices. There was also a multi-part article on gold tooling by Walter Gerlach (1892 – 1982). Trying to find out if there was a connection between him and Gerhard Gerlach. Gerhard Gerlach married Kathryn Edwards, and both studied with Wiemeler in Leipzig in the early 30s. There were also two tipped-in cards with material samples and articles on how to use those, a nice article about the life and impact of Roger Payne (illustrated by the engraving of him hunched over a press), and one telling soon to be journeymen that despite the fact that most would be unemployed after completing their apprenticeship, that they should remain hopeful and engaged. Also an interesting, ongoing series about architectural styles and history.

1938 was quite a change, and it was clear who was now running the country. Oddly, issue 1 from 1933 had been bound in instead of 1938... The volume had an article on fish leather, Igraf (a cellulose-based ersatz paper/parchment with the look of Elephant Hide, a paper now produced by Zanders, and a longer article by Franz Weisse on marbling. This contained the same illustrations as his work about marbling that was republished by Richard J. Wolfe as The Art of Marbling (Wolfe also had some things to say about the politics of the time). To round it out, articles on the need to bring bookbinding (and all the trades) into the nationalistic fold, competitions for apprentices and journeymen, depictions of bindings extolling the virtues of the Führer and Party… One image showed Otto Dorfner, Hugo Wagner, and Franz Weisse jurying bindings, some with their party pins in place… Below another from a national trades meeting. The "youth" of the trades are being addressed...

Buchatelier Bischoff in German is reprinting the complete run of the Buchbinderlehrling (1927 – 1944) on a subscription basis, every two months a new year... I already received 1927. No Ernst Collin articles, but several by Maria Luers, the first woman bookbinding Meister in Germany. This is going to be fun. They also republish many other classic German binding titles in sheets or bound. Check them out.

Another image from the 1938 volume.
Notice anything peculiarly practical?

Almost as a logical follow-up to the 1938 issue above, a nice catalog Ausstellung Malerei, Graphik, Buchkunst (1955) that featured bindings by Otto Dorfner in addition to the prints and paintings by two other artists. Dorfner worked largely in Weimer, a town that ended up in the Soviet Occupation Zone after the war, what became the German Democratic Republic (DDR). Stylistically, the binding shown continue the strong German style of design and tooling that was also used by Wiemeler…. Interestingly, in addition to books by Goethe, there are also bindings on works by Stalin, Karl Marx, Ernst Thälman, Wilhelm Pieck, … Communists, Soviets, and East German leaders all.

I think that there is a post/article in there about politics and the trade(s). Just need to line up some visuals (have lots in various books) and try to find some examples elsewhere. I could start it off with a "song" sung at the German Bookbinder's Assembly in Berlin in which the formation of the German Empire in 1871 is described in the context of binding a book... Designer Bookbinders had a 2008 exhibition Socialism: A Celebration in which binders selected historically significant socialist texts from the collection of Lord Tom Sawyer of Darlington, but that exhibition was not about the bookbinding trade in the service of a particular ruling ideology. There is also a rich history of Marxist (and other) children's books, but that's not design bookbinding either... If anyone has any examples I'd love to hear about them.

Another book was the 1995 Festschrift of the Buchbinder-Innung (Guild) Berlin-Brandenburg. Lots of interesting details about the trade in Berlin over 400 years also indicating some differences with the Verein Berliner Buchbindermeister (Organization of Master Bookbinders in Berlin) whose Chronik I also own, and that provided lots of good information on the Collins. Some of the differences apparently center on Maria Lühr (first woman to learn the trade under Georg Collin and Joseph Zaehnsdorf, and first female Meister in Germany), the role of women in the trade and training, and the Lette Verein, an organization for women that taught trades. It still exists.

I had long had a copy of Lawrence S. Thompson's Kurze Geschichte der Handbuchbinderei in den vereinigten Staaten von Amerika (Stuttgart: Max Hettler, 1955), and given that Thompson was American working at the University of Kentucky Library was perplexed to not find the title available in English. That changed this week when I received A Short History of Bookbinding in the United States by Lawrence S. Thompson. From the dealer copy:
This is from a most curious assembled typescript I just bought, "with pp. 1-12 (and possibly an unnumbered 13th page following) provided in original typescript, pp. 11-34 (continuing the text uninterrupted, though in a different type font) provided in facsimile/photocopy, all printed on recto only. The latter portion shows several stamps from the University of Kentucky Libraries and various corrections to the typescript, so we are tempted to assume that it may be a copy."
I was able to confirm that this is the original English of an article published in/for Germany. I couldn't find an English version of my "unpublished" typescript, OCLC shows that just at the University of Kentucky where Thompson was Librarian. Vito J. Brenni's bibliography Bookbinding, a guide to the literature indicates that this was published in English as Some Notes on the History of Bookbinding in the United States, American Book Collector, Vol 7, Nos 5-7, Jan-Mar, 1955. Still trying to find a copy though... Interestingly found what seems to be an abridged version of the article in a journal - Hand Bookbinding in the United States Since the Civil War, Libri, Vol 5, no 2, 1954 (97-121)

Thompson's titels contain much information of interest (in particular to me) on German-trained binders in the US. Many of those named were indicated as being members of the Guild of Book Workers, too. He also published Fine Binding In America, The Story Of The Club Bindery, but that is a different book. A Short History... concluded with "Even in the atomic age, hand bookbinding will have a strong place in the culture of the United States." Thoughts?

The interlibrary loan department at Syracuse  also came through with some articles by Ernst Collin from 1934-36, and one about the Collins' as Hofbuchbinder that also mentioned Ernst from the 1947 (all from the Allgemeiner Anzeiger für Buchbindereien). VERY glad to have those.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Bindings by W. Collin

Syracuse University Libraries' Leopold v. Ranke Collection can be considered as a time-capsule of sorts in that all books were bound before 1888 when the collection came to Syracuse to form the core of the new university library, largely as a circulating collection. Exceptions are (few) volumes that were rebound by library binders and conservation rebinds/treatments completed after the conservation lab was established in 1995 by me as a part of a grant funded project.

"Leopold von Ranke (1795-1886), a German historian and historiographer, was highly influential in shaping the modern approach to history, emphasizing such things as reliance on primary sources, narrative history and international politics. Ranke's personal and professional library, consisting of more than 10,000 books, several hundred manuscripts and approximately 5 linear ft. of personal papers, was purchased for Syracuse University in 1887 and formed the nucleus of what is now the Syracuse University Special Collections Research Center (SCRC)." (cite)

An Address by Professor C.W. Bennett Read at the Dedication of the Leopold von Ranke Library (pdf page 14), states that after the sale of the Ranke Library to Syracuse University during 1886 - 1887:
And now began the Herculean task of removal from the Royal Library, the completion of imperfect serials, the repairing of worn and damaged volumes, the binding of unbound numbers, the careful classification and binding of thousands of pamphlets, the complete cataloging of the entire collection, the examination and estimate of the more than four hundred manuscripts by a professional paleographer, etc. This work required many months of time and involved the expenditure of a very large sum of money.
Additional information about the sale can be found in Morrison, John J. "Charles W. Bennett's 'The Purchase of the von Ranke Library.' A Prefatory Note. The Courier 15.2 and 15.3 (1978): 15-18.

Image from: Dohrmann, Inken.
150 Jahre Jahre Verein Berliner
. Berlin:
Verein Berliner Buchbindermeister
1849, 2001: 147
Having worked on the collection since coming to Syracuse in 1995 and knowing the variety of bindings in the collection, I decided to see whether there were any bindings identified as being bound by W. Collin, the firm started by Ernst Collin's grandfather in 1845. W(ilhelm) Collin was born 1820 in Beuthen/Bytom (PL) the son of a physician. He moved to Berlin with his family, and apprenticed with the Court Bookbinder Abraham Mossner from 1835-1840. In 1859 he was named Court Bookbinder by the Princess Victoria (later Empress). As a binder, he was especially known for his fine gilding. [Dohrmann, Inken. 150 Jahre Jahre Verein Berliner Buchbindermeister. Berlin: Verein Berliner Buchbindermeister 1849, 2001: 147].

A search of Syracuse's catalog revealed 135 titles (a few being multi-volume sets) in the collection, and all in the v. Ranke Collection. This was indicated by a note that said "Binder's label: W. Collin." and 3 cases "Binder's label:  W. Collin, K.K. Hofbuchbinder, Berlin." Things were starting to get interesting. Thanks to the generosity of a colleague in Special Collections I was able to go in the stacks with her, spreadsheet and pencil in hand, and in the course of 2 hours examined every binding on the list. Only two or three were rebound, and all had their binder's labels. Jackpot.

So, what were the results of this survey? All binder's tickets were of the "W. Collin, K.K. Hofbuchbinder, Berlin" variety indicating that the books had been rebound between 1871 when the Kings of Prussia became the Kings of Prussia AND German Emperors (formation of a unified German Empire), and the death of Ranke when the collection was boxed for sale in 1886-1887. The "K.K. Hofbuchbinder" means "Royal and Imperial Court Bookbinder." There was more than one of those a Carl Wilhelm Vogt being another, but still. Below a scan of the binder's ticket.

Click on image to see the small label at bottom left in its original size.
All tickets were pasted to the verso of the front flyleaf.
This date range puts the firm under the control of W. Collin and his son Georg who became co-owner with his father in 1886 after returning from his journeyman years in Vienna, Paris, Switzerland, and England, there studying with Joseph Zaehnsdorf, "one of the most well-known German binders" [Inheim, Heinrich. Georg Collin [obituary]. Archiv für buchgewerbe. v.56 (1919)]. W. Collin died in 1893. The firm was continued as W. Collin under his son Georg from 1886 until his death in 1918. Georg's daughter Gertrud (sister of Ernst) also learned the trade, and took over the firm following her father's death. In 1930, it become a part of the firm of Paetch & Collin until liquidation by the Nazis in 1939. [Dohrmann, Inken. 150 Jahre Jahre Verein Berliner Buchbindermeister. Berlin: Verein Berliner Buchbindermeister 1849, 2001: 181].

Even though the firm was W. Collin was "Court Bookbinder" and produced exquisite work for the Court, it was also a trade bindery that was involved in the binding of books for a variety of customers, from individuals (like Ranke) to libraries to publishers in all manner of techniques. There is scant mention of W Collin. An example of a cloth case trade binding by the firm of W. Collin can be seen in the University of Wisconsin's digital collections. I have found no information about the size and scope of the firm thus far, including advertisements/images, and whether it would have been described as a "dampfbuchbinderei" is unknown. Regardless, it is unlikely either W. or Georg did much binding except for the most exclusive commissions.Dampfbuchbinderein were large industrial trade binderies (dampf = steam) described in the catalog to the 1994 exhibition Gebunden in Der Dampfbuchbinderei: Buchbinden Im Wandel Des 19. Jahrhunderts.

From Inheim, Heinrich (Ernst Collin
Georg Collin [obituary].
Archiv für buchgewerbe.
v.56 (1919)
The perceived state of German bookbinding at this time was described in The Profession Of Bookselling: A Handbook Of Practical Hints For The Apprentice And Bookseller by A. Growoll, London, 1895. A snippet describing this can be seen on pg 108, and was posted to this blog in March. Georg Collin himself is quoted as saying in an article about the 1900 World Exposition in Paris published in the Allegemeiner Anzeiger für Buchbindereien ( v.15-16 1900-1901: 267-270) that "bookbinding has attained the highest steps in France. Unfortunately we must stand back and let this happen, because even if we have the strength, drive, and talent to create work at this level, we just don't have the clients..., Germans just won't pay what the French and other foreigners will." The article concludes by saying that in binding at the highest levels, the honors go to France and England, with Germany being the leader in publishers' bindings. Bernhard Harms' Zur entwickelungsgeschichte der deutschen buchbinderei in der zweiten hälfte des 19. jahrhunderts. Technisch--Statistisch--Volkswirtschaftlich (Tübingen und Leipzig: Mohr, 1902) provides a great deal of statistical information about the bookbinding trade in German in the latter half of the 19th century, but unfortunately does not have any detailed information about the firm of W. Collin. Likewise, Hellmuth Helwig's Das Deutsche Buchbinder-Handwerk (Stuttgart: Hiersemann, 1961-1965).

Georg went on to redefine and elevate German bookbinding in the late 19th early 20th century, created many presentation bindings and "adressen" (presentation portfolios for official declarations...), and contributed to the development of Paul Kersten, perhaps Germany's first and best known "fine binder." Later, Ernst Collin wrote and published a biography of Kersten as a Jakob-Krause-Bund festschrift under his Corvinus-Antiquariat imprint  in 1925. Kersten himself was a noted author of binding texts, his most noted title being Der Exakte Bucheinband first published in 1909. But back to the books at hand.

So, what did these bindings look like? The imprint dates of titles in the collection that we examined ranged from the late 18th century up to 1876. Some were monographs, some selected volumes from series or serials. Due to condition (spines missing or damaged), we could examine the structure on some of the bindings. All were rebinds in some form. NONE were stapled, but sewings were uniformly on recessed cords, with stuck on endbands, and quarter leather case bindings featuring a variety of marbled papers on the sides sides. Leathers were goat, sheep, and calf. Endpapers were all of the same gray paper as a reinforced single folio hooked around the first and last text signature sections and then sewn. This endpaper construction and others are described in the article "Die Vorsätze im Buche," Archiv für buchbinderei, v.13, 1913-1914. (66-71) that is preceded by an article about the firm of W. Collin, with image of Georg Collin. A translation of the endpaper article can be found in HathiTrust (as can Archiv für Buchbinderei...). Archiv für Buchbinderei was published by Paul Adam, and no authors are indicated for the articles, although W. Collin is listed among the contributors, many of whom were illustrious during that time.

Overall I would describe these as competent trade bindings, not glamorous, not especially precise, with some interesting quirks such as in the example below.

Exterior detail of the above book showing mismatched leathers on spine and corner.

Overall binding, sheepskin with fading due to exposed spine and smaller adjacent binding.

Below a selection of other representative bindings by W. Collin in the v. Ranke collection. Unfortunately no paper cases, pastepaper, vellum, or full leather... Still, great to see them all, especially knowing something about the history of the firm and people behind it. Important to remember when viewing these (and their wear) is that the v. Ranke Collection was a Syracuse's circulating collection for some time before it became a special collection.

All binding images permission of: Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries.

Thank you also to Stephen Ferguson, Assistant University Librarian for Rare Books and Special Collections Curator of Rare Books at Princeton University Library for examining the W. Collin bindings in their collections. Unfortunately they had been rebound. His blog, Notabilia, is worth following.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Endpaper Sample Book

Endpaper sample/swatch book from the Buntpapier- and Leimfabrik A.-G. in Aschaffenburg, Germany, and dated 1901/2. The volume is in the HathiTrust digital collection with the original part of the The New York Public Library's Paul Kersten & Hans Loubier Collections of Books on Bookbinding.

From time to time I will share other books from the HathiTrust.

 Regrettably the link will only work for viewers coming in with US based IP-addresses.


Link to the book directly at HathiTrust here.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Provenance and Costs of Bookbinding

A few weeks ago Peter Zillig (Vuscor) shared a book he had found on ebay that was being offered by a dealer in Cologne, Germany. The book is Jacob Böhmen's (1575-1624) Alle Theosophischen Schrifften (Complete Theosophical Works), vol 1 (author's biography), printed 1682 in Amsterdam. At 15x9 cm and 144 pages it is a rather small tome, in a rather plain late 19th century German binding.

Binding exterior (Seller's photo)

Decorative title page (Seller's photo)

Title page (Seller's photo)

While the content of the book might be interesting to those interested in theosophy, it is the provenance and what was done to the book that made it interesting enough for me to spend the not insignificant sum of €181.

The book was originally issued in 15 volumes and had been rebound into 5 volumes at some point before 1890 when it was disbound and then rebound into its 29 individual sections/chapters. This was done for easier access to the text by the owner who bought it from an antiquarian in Tübingen in 1883. What is unusual and very nice to find is that the owner (Carl Friedrich Beck) wrote his rationale for rebinding and the costs onto the flyleaf.

Here a transcription by the dealer of the inscription:
Gegenw[ärtiges] theosophisches Werk Jak. Böhme ist im Jahre 1883 v. der antiquarischen Buchhandlung in Tübingen angekauft worden. Dasselbe bestund damals in 5 Bänden. Im Jahre 1890 hat man dasselbe nach all seinen einzelnen Theilen wie solche der sel. Böhme geschreiben, und zwar der schnellen Auffindung und des bequemen Gebrauchs halber in 29 Bd. binden lassen, deren Kosten sich auf 18 M. belaufen. Gesamtkosten des Werks 61 M. Gebe Gott, daß dieses unschätzbare Werk nicht in unberufene Hände gelange. Anno 1890.

This theosophical work of Jak. Böhme was bought in the year 1883 from the antiquarian bookseller in Tübingen. At that time it consisted of 5 volumes. In the year 1890 the same text was rebound into 29 individual volumes reflecting [Böhme's] original organization to make it easier to access and use the text. The cost for this rebinding was 18 Marks, total costs for the text 61 Marks. May God ensure that this priceless work not fall into  unbidden hands. Anno 1890
According to the dealer this volume is the only one of the 29 that made it... The binding cost of 18 Marks in 1890 is equivalent to € 111 ($144 in 2008), the total costs for the text of 61 Marks is equivalent to € 378 ($491 in 2008). These € (Euros) are indexed, but do not take into consideration the average incomes during that time that were quite a bit lower.  Unfortunately despite having just about every other statistic related to binding and binderies, Bernhard Harms' Zur Entwickelungsgeschichte der deutschen Buchbinderei in der zweiten hälfte des 19. Jahrhundert (1902) does not have any information on wages... However  Heinrich Bürger's Die Hamburger Gewerkschaften und deren Kämpfe von 1865 bis 1890 (1899) indicates on page 80 that in 1872 the weekly wage for a unionized bookbinder in Hamburg around 12~16 Marks at 10hrs/day...

All in a all a great find - Danke Peter fürs darauf aufmerksam machen.