[ModLib] Colors of balloon cloth bindings - help needed

Gordon Barrick Neavill neavill at wayne.edu
Sun Mar 10 22:45:45 EDT 2013

When balloon cloth bindings replaced imitation leather in January 1929, four colors of cloth were used -- red, green, blue and brown.  A portion of each ML printing was bound in each color.  For example, I have four jacketed copies of the first ML printing of Huysmans, Against the Grain (183), published in December 1930 -- one in each of the four colors.

I've always assumed that the ML continued the policy of binding each printing during the balloon cloth era in all four colors -- but I don't know for sure.  Beginning with the Blumenthal binding in fall 1939, each printing appears to have been bound in a single color, though binding colors could vary from one printing to another.

With your help it should be easy to confirm whether later printings in balloon cloth were bound in mutliple colors or a single color.

My first printing of Dickens, David Copperfield (spring 1934) is bound in blue balloon cloth; my first printing of The Wisdom of Confucius (spring 1938) is bound in dark red cloth. If you have first printings of either of these I'd appreciate knowing the color of the binding.


Barry Neavill
Gordon B. Neavill
Associate Professor
School of Library and Information Science
Wayne State University
106 Kresge Library
Detroit, MI 48202
313-577-0507; 313-577-7563 (fax)

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