Yet more books about books. Can you blow your Horn book?

History of the Horn Book, by Tuer, 1979, reprint of the 1897 original. Cloth hardcover with dust jacket. Bookplate but otherwise most decent. Originally a horn book was a printed sheet affixed to a wooden back and covered with a thin sheet of horn – thin enough to read through – which protected the page from the Grubby and Destructive hands of Children. With time, many began to refer to any child’s ABC book or primer as a horn book. Once there were millions of the genuine article, horn and all, but now they are scarce. The passenger pigeon of books?  If they were so rare in 1897, what are they now? Have more been discovered? The author of this book knew of so few copies that each almost has its own biography. Just the kind of specialized, obscure reference book that so delights.

A New History Of Stereotyping, Kubler, 1941. Hardcover. Another fairly comprehensive book about printing history. In good condition. A secret surprise inside: a loose sheet of blue paper on the letterhead of the Certidied Dry Mat Corporation in New York, which ends with “Please grant me the pleasure of accepting this volume, together with my heartiest good wishes. Yours respectfully, George Kubler” with what I assume is a printed signature. Lots of history, lots of photographs, lots of drawings. This book is notable for the amount of space and illustrations devoted to would-be replacements of stereotype machines which the author scornfully derides. Since many of these machines never made it into commercial use, they may not be as well documented in other History Of Stereotyping books I have seen. Entertaining! 

The Life Of The Book, by Lehmann–Haupt, 1957. Cloth hardcover with dust jacket. Nice condition. “How the book is written, published, printed, sold, and read.” Doesn’t seem to include “made into a cute end table by some yahoo with a glue gun.” Don’t get me started. I’m an old curmudgeon who likes books as books, and I hate to see pretty old books  made into handbags when they could have been in my library. Wait, I have too many books already. Well, après moi le deluge, right? This small book is a gem. Some history and some advice on getting published and on collecting. I can’t let this go without a lengthy but marvelous quotation. ” The interesting and important thing about the public library in America is that it offers free reading facilities and a great number of varied services to every member of the community, young or old, rich or poor, regardless of race, color, or creed. Its doors are open to the highly educated as well as to the average reader, to the citizen and the immigrant, to persons in search of practical or special information as well as to those who wish to broaden their education generally and enrich their minds. The public library is host to the person who wishes to while away an idle hour as well as to the professional author and the scholar. Every day many thousands of people in the United States use their public library without ever realizing how privileged they are in comparison with the citizens of many other countries.” Can I get an amen? Maybe I can’t let this one go…I owe all that I am to a library and to librarians and this little volume is a beautiful love poem to the book.Edit

The Printed Book by H.G. Aldis, 1929. Small cloth hardcover with dust jacket. Bookplate, torn jacket. Lovely little thing with history, illustrations, and admonitions. Lots of pith in a small space.


The Art of The Book, by Ede, 1951. Cloth hardcover with dust jacket. “Fifty separate contributions by authorities from various countries …headings Type Design and Lettering, Printing the Text, Illustration and Graphic Reproduction (Including Dust Jackets), Commercial Binding, and Hand Binding.” Many great illustrations in a largish book, including whole page reproductions and gorgeous as-in-Gaw-Jess fine leather bindings. Like Itchikoo Park, it’s all too beautiful.


Basic Bookbinding, by Lewis, 1957. Sewn paperback binding. Surprisingly detailed descriptions and illustrations of tools and techniques for the novice, but even the experienced binder might learn something new. For me, it was the trick for positioning large pasted sheets exactly. If you have to start somewhere, you could do worse.  

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