Thursday, October 1, 2020

Trout Fishing on the Rapid Streams

In 1983 the Guild of Book Workers organized a small set book exhibition of sixteen fine bindings on Cutcliffe's The Art of Trout Fishing on the Rapid Streams published as a fine press book with illustrations by D. R. Wakefield. That fine press edition is no longer available, but the original is (scroll down).

The catalog cover. Print copies can still be found.
It is also online via the Guild of Book Workers' website.


H. C. Cutcliffe. The Art of Trout Fishing on the Rapid Streams. Revised and illustrated by D. R. Wakefield. Tiverton, Devon: The Chevington Press, 1982. Printed in Perpetua type on handmade Barcham Green. 10½ x 7 7/8 x 3/8  inches. Limited to fifty copies, signed and numbered by the illustrator.

Binders who participated were:

  • William Anthony
  • David P. Bourbeau
  • Lage Carlson
  • Betty Lou Chaika
  • Jerilyn Glenn Davis
  • Odette Drapeau Milot
  • Louise Genest-Côté
  • Donald Glaister
  • Ursula Hofer
  • Jamie Kamph
  • William Minter
  • Joseph Newman
  • Gisela Noack
  • Gray Parrot
  • Julie Beinecke Stackpole
  • Griselda Warr

The catalog is illustrated in the style of the day with smallish black and white photographs. Still, it is a wonderful record of the exhibit representing some of the most active binders of the day. Some are still active, some not so much, and some have passed. Included in the catalog are the binder's education, prior and past positions, and a description of the binding. Mine also included the price list for those works that were for sale.

The price list in 1983 dollars.

So, ordered a first from 1883 to bind. Paper ok, needs a bath, smells less like a damp lakeside camp than the last book, but otherwise in good condition. Still, going to pull, wash, and deacidify. The book is also available in print and digitally via the Internet Archive.


When engaging in piscatorial bibliopegy, I prefer to use skins that I have preserved, but when Janey Chang shared these oak gall tanned brook trout on her Insta I couldn't help but ask whether she would part with them. When making parchment the color largely disappears, and other tanning methods overpower the delicate coloring of the fish. These are just perfect. Now to work on a design that honors the fish, and book.

So, who's up for an exhibit on this book?

Saturday, September 19, 2020

About Slipcases from the Lakeside Press

It is fairly uncommon to see coverage of the work of American binders and binderies in the German trade press. Below "a few words about slipcases" as they are made at the Lakeside Press of R.R. Donnelly in Chicago, at that time under the direction of Alfred de Sauty.

The article starts out by mentioning the efforts that go into a fine binding and that [as a consequence] bibliophiles take greater care to protect them, including the construction of enclosures. The slipcases illustrated in the following images are all custom-made (or as we now say "bespoke" 🤮).

– From Philobiblon, Nr.1, 1938. Philobiblon was a leading German bibliophilic journal.

For more about the work of the Lakeside Press see: Extra Binding at the Lakeside Press (1925), A Rod for the Back of the Binder (1929)All the King's horses ... (1954). See also The Training Department of the Lakeside Press; an historical sketch together with an illustrated description of its progress, aims and purposes, (1923). All titles linked to are in HathiTrust.

The article in German, main themes above.

Captions clockwise starting top left:
Cloth covered with pull ribbon and visible binding spine.
Cloth covered with cloth dust jacket stamped with title.
"Lockable" cloth covered sipcase/clam sheel with drop front.
Cloth covered with 4 flap enclosure.

Captions clockwise starting top left:
Quarter leather slipcase/clam shell with or without raised "cords."
Quarter leather with 2-flap wrapper.
Full leather solander (top pulls off).
Quarter leather solander.



Monday, September 14, 2020

The Crafts of Germany, 1832

The Crafts of Germany

The different crafts in Germany are incorporations recognised by law, governed by usages of great antiquity, with a fund to defray the corporate expenses, and, in each considerable town, a house of entertainment is selected as the house of call, or harbor, as it is styled, of each particular craft. Thus you see, in the German towns, a number of taverns indicated by their signs, as the Masons' Harbor, the Blacksmiths' Harbor, &c. No one is allowed to set up as a master work man in any trade, unless he is admitted as a freeman or member of the craft; and such is the stationary condition of most parts of Germany, that no person is admitted as a master workman in any trade, except to supply the place of someone deceased, or retired from business. When such a vacancy occurs, all those desirous of being permitted to fill it present a piece of work, executed as well as they are able to do it, which is called their master-piece, being offered to obtain the place of a master workman. Nominally, the best workman gets the place; but you will easily conceive, that, in reality, some kind of favouritism must generally decide it. Thus is every man obliged to submit to all the chances of a popular election whether he shall be allowed to work for his bread; and that, too, in a country where the people are not permitted to have any agency in choosing their rulers. But the restraints on journeymen, in that country, are still more oppressive. As soon as the years of apprenticeship have expired, the young mechanic is obliged, in the phrase of the country, to wander for three years. For this purpose he is furnished, by the master of the craft in which he has served his apprenticeship, with a duly-authenticated wandering book, with which he goes forth to seek employment. In whatever city he arrives, on presenting himself with his credential, at the house of call, or harbor, of the craft in which he has served his time, he is allowed, gratis, a day's food and a night's lodging. If he wishes to get employment in that place, he is assisted in procuring it. If he does not wish to, or fails in the attempt, he must pursue his wandering; and this lasts for three years before he can be anywhere admitted as a master. I have heard it argued, that this system had the advantage of circulating knowledge from place to place, and imparting to the young artisan the fruits of travel and intercourse with the world. But, however beneficial travelling may be, when undertaken by those who have the taste and capacity to profit by it, I cannot but think, that to compel every young man who has just served out his time to leave his home, in the manner I have described, must bring his habits and morals into peril, and be regarded rather as a hardship than as an advantage. There is no sanctuary of virtue like home. — From Everett's Address

Knight, Charles, 1791-1873, and Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (Great Britain). Knight's Penny Magazine. London: C. Knight & Co., 183246. Vol. 1, May 5, 1832, p55. View at HathiTrust.



Sunday, September 6, 2020

New Colliniana Acquisitions

I recently acquired several new items connected to the Collins.

First is a publishers' binding, Georg Friedrich Händel by Fritz Volbach, part of a larger series about Berühmte Musiker (Famous Musicians and Composers). The book was published in 1898 and represents the kind of work that W. Collin did as a large trade bindery. On the back W. Collin's stamp in a variant I had not seen until now. You can see other examples here and the Pan after Clavigo here.

Georg Friedrich Händel by Fritz Volbach.

Detail of the stamp.

The other is a book about the artist Adolf v. Menzel bound by W. Collin after 1906. The cover design is in leather relief, and I suspect the binding was created after 1918, and the death of Georg Collin on 24 December of that year,  as the signature in gold on the front turn-in does not include Hofbuchbinder. The monarchy had ended with the end of World War I, so there were no more Court bookbinders.

Adolf v. Menzel bound by W. Collin after 1906

Signed W. Collin, Berlin.

Then from the father to the son, the complete run of Die Heftlade edited by Ernst Collin, printed on rag paper, #15/400, and as published 1922-24 in individual issues. I have had a complete run with all inserts for some time, but it is nice to have them as issued.

The complete Die Heftlade.

In with the Heftlade was also a catalog for the Euphorion Verlag that published the Heftlade, and Ernst Collin's Pressbengel. You can find the Pressbengel on page 2, and the Heflade on the last.


Finally, I was offered a copy of a "Sonderdruck" (special printing) of the Heftlade from 1925 about Jean Grolier. It's printed by the same firm that printed the full run, but I'm find it hard to place it as there is no editorial information... Another mystery.

The Cover.

Imprint.

Detail of Imprint.

 

Friday, August 28, 2020

Piscatorial Bibliopegy, Again

 So, I'll probably never "get over" piscatorial bindings, especially if they just scream using materials as metaphor. Here the latest candidate that arrived in yesterday's post from the shores of some loch in Scotland.

The binding and paper of my copy of Life-history and habits of the salmon, sea-trout, trout, and other Freshwater Fish (1910) show a life of love in a fisherman's cabin, intact (mostly), sewing very loose, cover wear, and just a hint of the general mustiness of wet sheep(dog), fog, and solitude. Almost 300 pages of clay coated paper. 

Copies, including print-on-demand versions are available, and it is also available digitally via Internet Archive at 125mb. This is a fantastic text. richly illustrated with photographs and diagrams. Below a taste.

Hmmm, how to bind. Good thing I have several salmon and sea-trout parchments ready, or maybe I go fishing at Loch Wegman in the lowlands of Dewitt and tan the skin.

This catch is definitely a keeper. Now to clean, cut up into its parts, and take it from there... The front cover and spine will be integrated somehow...







For more inspiration, check out the 2020 Fish Skin Bind-O-Rama!

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Fish Skin - Tanned Fish Skin - Fish Parchment

The images below are a selection of those in Franz Weisse's 1938 article "Fischhaut - Fischleder - Fischpergament" published in Das deutsche Buchbinderhandwerk, Vol 2, Nr 9, 1938. Das deutsche Buchbinderhandwerk was created by a consolidation of all the bookbinding trade publications under the National Socialists to make it easier to control the message... As such nationalistic tones and appeals were integral, and the trades were of national importance.

The article recaps many of the themes around using fish in binding from austerity measures, to self-reliance (no foreign sources), but also to the unique and beautiful variations of the raw material. It references the long history of using fish in Ainu and Siberian (polar) cultures, before discussing the material properties of fish skin, common misconceptions (Oh, the stench...!), and processes for preserving the skin from tanning to making parchment. Martini's article from 1919 is cited, but not by name, neither is there (as expected) a mention of Ernst Collins' articles just 4 years earlier in the bookbinding trade journals. Much of the article describes the most common/suitable for binding species; salmon, pollack, wolf fish, cod, lingcod, flounder, shark, and eel among others. Woven in are also tips for working and descriptions of the aesthetic properties, and suitable uses.

Weisse also speaks to books bound in fish that were shown in exhibits, clearly rejecting many decorative and metaphoric applications that to him are easy outs and too simplistic – not worthy of the infinite variations and natural characteristics of the skins. As an example, don't use flounder on a binding about the Alps... "We can (must) do better!" He further states that to make use of the material as second nature as that of Morocco or calf vellum it must be more than just a temporal fashion statement... It is our "duty" as German workers in the skilled trades, in this case bookbinding. Apropos exhibits, the Archiv fuer Buchgewerbe recapped a 1918 exhibition of Franz Martini's bindings made from Klippfish (stock fisch, salted cod) parchment at the Deutschen Kulturmuseum für Buch und Schrift in Leipzig. Also mentioned were the tests undertaken on Martini's fish parchment.

Note the size of the fish in these images, most caught closer to their markets as factory-scale fishing was not as common then. Compare with the fishes we see now. A clear sign of over-fishing.

Skinning the fish. Note, the fillet is placed skin down and skinned
that way, kind of like paring leather.

The remaining bits of flesh and scales are removed in a process similar 
to de-hairing mammalian skins prior to making parchment or tanning.


The skins are stretched unto boards with nails.

After tanning, the skins are stretched out on boards to dry.


The finished fish leathers in the hands of the Meister who is examining it 
for aesthetics and usefulness. "What binding is this most appropriate for...?"




Sunday, May 31, 2020

Colliniana 2019-20 - Ernst Collin Updates

As in the past 6 years, on May 31st, Ernst Collin's birthday (This would have been his 134th) I share updates from my research and findings into his life and work. Unfortunately, there seemed to be little new to share about the Collins in 2019 and other things intervened... However, thanks to another mass digitization project and some new acquisitions there are several interesting things to share this year. My text is all English this time to describe findings and images, but all text in images auf Deutsch, naturally.

The most significant of these was the digitization of the Börsenblatt des deutschen Buchhandels (daily newsletter of the German book trades). The collection was digitized by the Sächsische Landesbibliothek – Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek (SLUB) in Dresden and features full text indexing and searching. While OCR is challenging at best with variances in paper, type quality, typefaces, I was able to identify a number of articles relating to Ernst Collin. Thank you to all those organizations and individuals who work to expose the literature in this way. I am also grateful that works are passing into the public domain again, in the US, so that volumes for 1923/24 becaume accessible. So, each year will bring new discoveries.

Corvinus Antiquariat Ernst Collin


Mommsen Straße 27 in Charlottenburg where the
Corvinus Antiquariat was located when it opened


Addressbuch entry from 1925

Ernst Collin opened his Corvinus Antiquariat in Charlottenburg on October 15, 1923, during some of the worst of the hyperinflation period... Images below are from the Börsenblatt. The opening and range of inventory was also covered in the Archiv für Buchbinderei, nr 10/11, vol 23, 1923.

Announcement of the Antiquariat being added to the Berlin directory

A mention in the issue of December 28, 1923 concerned the publication of his first catalog containing fine press books, fine bindings, and other bibliophilic texts. The introduction to the catalog was written by E.A.G. Bogeng, a prolific writer and scholar of the book and allied crafts, and also provided some vital details about Ernst's life. The opening coincided with Germany's period of hyperinflation.

From April 27 to May 24, 1924 the Antiquariat hosted an exhibit of works by Walter Klemm's and Alexander Olbricht's Weimar Reiher-Verlag, illustrated books bound by Otto Dorfner, as well as other bindings by him. Also exhibited were paintings and woodcuts by Arthur Segal. This opening was also covered in the Archiv für Buchbinderei, nr 4, vol 24, 1924.

Announcement of the exhibition at the Corvinus Antiquariat

On December 5, 1924, the Börsenblatt carried a notice that the Antiquariat was moving from Charlottenburg to Stegliz, the address Ernst also used as editor of Die Heftlade, Journal of the Jakob-Krause-Bund (J-K-B), an association of fine binders, and for his publication of Paul Kersten in 1925...

Notice of the Antiquariat's move

Finally, on March 17, 1927, the Börsenblatt announced the closure of the Antiquariat, 3ish years after its opening during the period of hyperinflation.

Closure notice

Writings and Speaking


The Boersenblatt also contained reports of Collin speaking publicly as well as containing several articles by him or referencing those in other publications. In the May 8, 1918 edition he wrote about bibliophiles and the art of binding in "Bücherfreunde und Einbandkunst," on April 25, 1923 he stepped in for Fedor von Zobeltitz to give the welcoming talk at the opening of Der Schöne Bucheinband, an exhibit of the J-K-B. This talk was also covered in the Archiv für Buchbindereiand on June 27, 1931 reviewed the "internation book art exhibition" held in Paris that year. He did not go into the details of the German exhibitors to avoid the internal politics of that group... Some of these appeared in the "editorial" section of the Börsenblatt. There was also a back-and-forth exchange with a publisher in response to an article of his in the Tägliche Rundshau, another daily in which the publisher saw Collin's opinions on pricing as being unfair. It also mentioned an article in the Deutsche Verleger of December 1, 1920 about the "cleansing" of foreign terms in the German book trades, "Fremdworterreinigung im deutschen Buchgewerbe." This topic also appeared in various bookbinding trade publications in the years between the World Wars.

The publication of the Pressbengel was also mentioned and the topic of some discussion in the Börsenblatt's October 30, 1922 edition. The announcement mentioned that it has taken a long time for fine bindings and books to receive the kind of recognition they deserve, and that despite the hard economic times, fine books still find willing buyers. It then goes on to describe the nature of the discussion between bibliophile and binder, other titles by Collin, and that like the Heftlade (sewing frame) the Pressbengel (more here) is another essential tool of the bookbinder. Zobeltitz had reviewed the book for Die Heftlade (Nr 4, 1922), published by Collin for the J-K-B. The bookbinding, bibliophile, and arts communities were very interwoven... 

Notice about the Pressbengel. Note the price, an indicator
of the beginnings of the hyperinflation
that would get much worse in 1923.

The December 21, 1922 edition mentioned the Pressbengel at the end of it's Christmas title list, that even if a book lover can't afford new clothes for their favorite books, that can at least read about it, amusingly in the Pressbengel, closing with an acknowledgment of the increasingly bad economic situation and growing hyperinflation.

"If only there weren't that valuta (currency) hyperinflation"

I wrote about some of this in the 2018 post about Ernst Collin und Euphorion Verlag Inserate | Ads.

Below a tweet from the Director of the Sächsische Landesbibliothek – Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek (SLUB) that shows the levels of hyperinflation and the reaction of one publisher...


Ernst Collin in the Allgmeiner Anzeiger für Buchbindereien


I was also able to acquire an "imperfect"copy of the 1929 Allgmeiner Anzeiger für Buchbindereien (AAB), imperfect in the sense that for one or two issues, 1928  had been bound in instead of 1929. Those apprentices...

This issue contained several articles by Collin, including "Neue Arbeiten der Weimarer Fachschule" led by Otto Dorfner; two articles about bookbinding supplies and decorated papers being shown at the Leipziger Papiermesse (trade fair); "Ein halbes Jahrhundert Fachmann" about Paul Kersten's 50th year practicing and teaching in the trade; and directly connected to items in my collection, a review of Musterbetriebe deutscher Wirtschaft (Model Corporations of German Industry) that was about the trade bindery E.A. Enders. I described that book in my post here, especially pleased that it depicted my copy of the 1927 Jahrbuch der Einbandkunst published by the Meister der Einbandkunst. There was also an article about "Buchbinder in der Literatur," bookbinders appearing in literary works; a review "Bucheinband-Ausstellung in Berlin" about a bindings created by Kersten's students at the Lette Verein (and addition to the previously mentioned article).  Also several other exhibit reviews, and a correction by Collin for omitting the binder Carl Funke from his article about the 25th anniversary of the Berliner Kunstklasse, first led by Kersten. Among those 1928 articles was one "Über die Kunst in der Buchbinderei" about the art in [fine] binding. Those articles will be added to the bibliography of Collins writings soon.

As an added bonus, it also contained several of the issues of  number 1 of the 1929 volume of the Buchbinderlehrling, below nr. 1. This was the journal for apprentices and was included as an insert in the AAB.

Number 1 of the 1929 Buchbinderlehrling as issued in the
Allegemeiner Anzeiger für Buchbindereien.

Connecting Ernst Collin to other threads


I also found an article by Collin about the "Zukunft unserer Kriegsbeschädigten" (Future of Those Disabled by the War) from the Hamburgische Lazarett-Zeitung, Nr 14, 1  Juli, 1916. While not focused on bookbinding, it ties into articles by Paul Adam and others, and shows again the breadth of Collins writings.

I was also pleased to include writings by Collin in my article "Fips" and His Eels: Fish Skin in Bookbinding that appeared in Book Arts arts du livre Canada (Vol 10., Nr. 2, 2019). Another article on this topic will appear in a UK-based bookbinding journal, and I am also working on a German version. Finally, really, I was asked to write a general, foundational, article on Collin and his Pressbengel for a German publication.

I think this wraps up the past two years.