[ModLib] 1920's Buckrams

John Wolansky johnwolansky at verizon.net
Mon Nov 23 16:23:46 EST 2015

Gentlemen, I just checked two Everyman’s Library buckram bindings from the 1920’s.  Neither one has reinforcing strips, either.  How common are reinforcing strips, generally?  I have no recollection of seeing them on books other than the later ML buckrams. So, I am not convinced that the lack of reinforcing strips on the 20’s library bindings discounts them as having been designed for library use.  Also, the greater heft of the EL buckrams is as obvious as it is in the ML 1920’s buckrams.


I wondered where the initial designation of the heavier bound 1920’s as Buckrams for library use originated.  So, I checked Toledano.  On page 184 I found the following: “A few buckram Modern Library were published in the late twenties.  All are hard to find, especially in fine condition.”  Ideally, someone can locate sales offerings from the period describing them for library use.  Short of that, I am not going to second guess Henry and view these volumes as manufactured for library use and not a transitional binding.


Perhaps some of the EL cross-collectors can add information.  The ML was conceived to model EL, I believe, so could the ML library bindings be copied as well?




From: modlib-bounces at thuban.owu.edu [mailto:modlib-bounces at thuban.owu.edu] On Behalf Of Brian LeMasters
Sent: Monday, November 23, 2015 9:21 AM
To: For collectors of Modern Library books
Subject: Re: [ModLib] 1920's Buckrams


John and fellow collectors,

I also have a few of these bindings (11).  More evidence to discuss is the Bernhard endpapers vs blank endpapers and the lack of a reinforcement strip of some kind.  It would be educational to see a deconstructed 20's buckram, but I will not volunteer any of mine.  My binding experience is limited to internet videos, but Bernhard endpapers and no additional step to insert the strips after the first signature suggests the normal binding process.  Is there advertising or catalog listings or any publishing info from 1928 to introduce these bindings?  Can transitional bindings be traced to one bindery and records be located?

All of the ones I have are listed on the Buckram's Seen page on the website.



On Mon, Nov 23, 2015 at 7:34 AM, john peterson <jpetersonlhi at frontier.com> wrote:

I recently found and bought one of the Buckram editions from the late 1920’s, and I’m curious about just how many titles were bound in this way.  The bindings are in a #4 binding style, but they are anything but flexible, with a coarse cloth cover over stiff boards.  While the four examples that I own have faded spines, they are in otherwise great shape.


The four titles that I have are: 

*	101.2      American Poetry 1671-1928 (Stated First, 1929, with a Fall 1928 list in back)
*	003.2      Cellini, Autobiography (Fall, 1928 List)
*	138.1      Merejkowski, Romance of Da Vinci (Fall, 1928 List, also handwritten note from first owner that it was purchased 9/18/29)
*	132.1      Schreiner, Story of an African Farm (No List)


I haven’t been able to find out much about these books.  The first three I bought from Henry Toledano when he sold his collection, and I just found the Schreiner several weeks ago.  The fact that the American Poetry example has the marks of a first printing makes me wonder if these aren’t just another variation of the 1929 transitional bindings, rather than a ML strategic marketing move.


John Peterson 

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