Books Will Speak Plain. A Handbook for Identifying and Describing Historical Bindings.
Ann Arbor, MI: The Legacy Press, 2023,
Third Edition, Revised and Enlarged. octavo, cloth in dust jacket. 720 pp.; DVD; access to pdf with ca. 1,500 color images. The Legacy Press, New. Item #32588
"Books Will Speak" is published at a time when the historical book is at risk of being ignored, put away, and forgotten. This handbook combines an overview of the history of the codex with basic information about many of the materials and structures found on historical bindings. The book also includes description-survey guidelines and is supported by a variety of appendices. The text is illustrated by 390 images, all in color, and close to 1,500 color images on the exclusively accessed pdf which represent structural and decorative elements from a variety of bindings made before 1900. The book's focus on primarily non-luxury bindings adds depth to an often-neglected segment of the history of bookbinding. Preservation is at the heart of "Books Will Speak Plain." We have already lost too many historical bindings because their importance was not understood and appreciated. This book is a call to action to urge custodians of every kind of historical book collection, public and private, to assess the physical character of the historical bindings in their care and record the changes that have accrued to those bindings during their passage through time. The second edition featured a new section about early canvas bindings, and additional images have been added to the book and DVD. This Third Edition further allows access to a pdf containing ca. 1,500 images plus an additional 90 pp. of text. Photography by J. Wayne Jones, and drawings by Pamela Spitzmueller. Very fine, new copy.