Monday, May 31, 2021

Colliniana 2020-21 - Ernst Collin Updates

I was both thrilled and petrified to have been asked to write an article about Ernst Collin for the historically Berlin-based Pirckheimer-Gesellschaft and its journal Marginalien. It was to be "grundlegend", a general introduction to Collin and his familial background. Thrilled because this is a tremendous opportunity to "reintroduce" Collin to German audiences and share the findings that I have shared here in a more formal way. Petrified, because it was definitely a huge lift for me to write in German at this level and for the journal it represents, in part because of some of the feedback I received for Die Collins (the German edition) – that anxiety was warranted. I was VERY thankful to a German friend and colleague at the University, and the editor of the Marginalien who coaxed me along and made me presentable. The article will appear in the next issue, 2021/2, Nr.241.

Recently, I was also able to acquire two more copies of the "regular" edition of the catalog to Deutsche Einbandkunst (1921) that was published by Ernst Collin. In addition to being the publisher, he had two short essays in the catalog (one uncredited). The wrappers of the "regular" edition were all made from decorated papers provided by several vendors. See the examples in my collection, and all the luscious advertising in the post. The exhibit also included 12 bindings by Georg Collin in the retrospective section. Georg Collin had died on December 24, 1918.

Retrospective (Memorial) component of the exhibit.
Georg Collin at the top of the list.

Now that the copyright wall is moving again, more articles by Ernst Collin, and about him and the Pressbengel have moved into the public domain to become accessible via HathiTrust. Among these a bibliophilic back and forth between a reviewer of the Pressbengel and Paul Kersten who defended the work. Today, this exchange might have happened on social media... There were also a number of advertisements for his Corvinus Antiquariate in the Zeitschrift für Bücherfreunde.

I also acquired a copy of the Festschrift  celebrating 50 years of the Buchbinder-Fachschule Berlin. This was the bookbinding trade school that was led by the bookbinding guild in Berlin. All other districts in Germany would have had an equivalent, either standalone, or as part of a more general trade school. 

The Kunstklasse (Art class) at the Fachschule that Ernst Collin mentioned himself studying at under Paul Kersten and others in the article “Ein viertel Jahrhundert kunstbuchbinderischer Erziehung - 25 Jahre Berliner Kunstklasse“ (Archiv für Buchbinderei, Vol. 29, Nr. 9, 1929. (106-108)) was briefly mentioned in the Festschrift, but Kersten was not in the list of faculty past and current. Re-reading Collins article about a quarter century of the Kunstklasse I learned that it had been a part of the Guild's Fachschule, but that split off after 19 years in 1923. The Kunstklasse then moved to an arts & crafts school in Charlottenburg in the western part of Berlin. According to Collin, the split happened due to differences in pedagogy and philosophy, the Kunstklasse being there to free students from creative constraints, whereas the Guild's more rigid approach was geared to the requirements of the trade. Those differences were also apparent when I visited the Berufsschule (trade school) during my apprenticeship.

Back to the Collins, Georg Collin was listed as having taught there 1893-1896. An added item of interest was that the Festschrift was printed by Paetsch & Collin, the last firm the Collins, in this case Gertrude, were associated with. What was left of W. Collin was aryanized in 1939. Details to this relationship and the history of the firm under Gertrude have not been found. I was also very pleased that my copy of this little publication came from the collection of Werner Kiessig, the [East] Berlin based member of the Meister der Einbandkunst.

Fifty years Buchbinder-Fachschule Berlin in 1938.

Georg Collin taught at the school 1893-1896.

From Paetsch & Collin to Werner Kiessig.
Kiessig was born Berlin in 1924 and started his apprenticeship
there in 1939, one year after this Festschrift was published.
Did he own it since it was published? He would have enrolled at the school.

Finally, 3 more items for the collection, 2 bindings by W. Collin and the complete run of Die Heftlade, the journal Ernst Collin published for the Jakob-Krause-Bund (JKB). The W. Collin bindings include a full cloth publishers binding with another, new to me binder's stamp on the back, and a binding with leather relief, link above.

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