[GBW] New book on historical bindings

Zachary, Shannon szachary at umich.edu
Fri Dec 10 08:26:06 EST 2010

I  am delighted to announce the publication of Books Will Speak Plain: A
Handbook for Identifying and Describing Historical Bindings, by Julia

Miller, a book conservator turned researcher, provides a broad introduction
to the structural and technical history of bookbindings and an extensive
glossary of terms. The concluding chapters cover guidelines for writing
descriptions of bindings, whether in the context of a MARC record, a sales
catalog, or a private collection. Extensive illustrations in the text and
nearly fifteen hundred searchable color images with descriptions on the
accompanying DVD make the handbook a rich reference source for conservators,
librarians, booksellers, bibliophiles, and students of the history of the

The book has an unabashed ulterior motive: appalled by the losses and damage
inflicted on historical bindings by ill-informed but well-meaning caretakers
and repairers, Miller has written an accessable guide to help everyone
involved appreciate the significance of even mundane-looking bindings.

Julia Miller, Books Will Speak Plain: A Handbook for Identifying and
Describing Historical Bindings. Ann Arbor: The Legacy Press, 2010.
ISBN:  978-0-9797974-3-9  $80.00  592pp., 374 illustrations in the
text, many in color, bound in cloth and sewn. Accompanying DVD with
1,471 color images and captions (searchable).

For additional information and orders: www.thelegacypress.com


Preface and Acknowledgements
Introduction. The Purpose of This Handbook
Chapter 1. The Early History of the Codex
Chapter 2. The Medieval Manuscript Book and Beyond
Chapter 3.  1450 to 1800: The Book Changes Radically
Chapter 4. The Book from 1800 to 1900
Chapter 5. Identifying Binding Materials and Applications
Chapter 6. Describing Historical Bindings: a Template for Action
Chapter 7. The Task Ahead and Conclusion
Appendix 1. Historical Bindings: Structure and Style Hierarchy
Appendix 2. Sample Survey Suggestions and Description Case Studies
Appendix 3. Stacks Maintenance and Physical Condition Assessment Guidelines

Shannon Zachary
Head, Preservation & Conservation
University Library, University of Michigan

More information about the GBW mailing list