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The Collation

Folger Tooltips: Researching Bindings

Man in the moon stamp STC 20938

Man in the moon stamp, STC 20938

Last month Folger Librarian Stephen Enniss announced our public launch of the Folger Bindings Image Collection.

Today we introduce Collation readers to the database and describe in a bit more detail some of the available search strategies for those interested in investigating early modern European binding structure and decoration.

About the Bindings Image Collection

This new database had its earliest incarnation at the Folger nearly twenty years ago in the form of a public exhibition and a now-out-of-print catalog, Fine and Historic Bookbindings from the Folger Shakespeare Library, by Frederick Bearman, Nati Krivatsy, and Frank Mowery. 1 Then-director Werner Gundersheimer put it this way in his foreword to that 1992 catalog: 

  1. Fine and Historic Bookbindings from the Folger Shakespeare Library, by Frederick A. Bearman, Nati H. Krivatsy, J. Franklin Mowery; with an introduction by Anthony Hobson; photographs by Julie Ainsworth. Washington DC, 1992.
  2. Current figures are much higher: “In round numbers, the Folger houses more than 256,000 books; 60,000 manuscripts; 250,000 playbills; 200 oil paintings; some 50,000 drawings, watercolors, prints, and photographs; and a wealth of other materials, including musical instruments, costumes, and films.”
  3. Werner Gundersheimer, “Foreword,” Fine and Historic Bookbindings, p. 5.