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    In Circulation

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Filed under: Selected purchases with funds provided by Friends Of Thomas J. Watson Library

Vitrine Displays – November 2013


Daskam, Josephine
New York: Charles Scribner’s & Sons, 1913
Designer: Emma Redington Lee Thayer (1874-1973) for the Decorative Designers (signed “DD” on front cover)

The Circle
Thurston, Katherine Cecil
New York: Dodd, Mead and Co., 1903
Illustrator: Reginald B. Birch
Designer: Thomas Watson Ball (1863-1934)

The Love Letters of the King: Or, The Life Romantic
Gallienne, Richard Le
Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1901
Designer: The Decorative Designers

In these cover designs, textured gold and symmetrical repeating patterns demonstrate key characteristics of American publishers’ bindings from the late nineteenth century to the 1930s.  Lee Thayer’s binding (above left) displays textured stamping with matte and bright gold leaves and flowers.  “Love Letters” (right)—also by the Decorative Designers firm—bears an art nouveau-inspired, gold-stamped binding on green cloth.  Thomas Watson Ball, known for his Pointillist and Impressionist styles, designed the geometric, cover (center) of interlocking circles on cream cloth stamped with red, orange, and green.


Crockett, Samuel Rutherford
New York: McClure Phillips and Company, 1903
Designer: Frederick Lowenheim (1870-1929), signed “FL” on front cover.

Ambulancing on the French Front
Coyle, Edward R.
New York: Britton Publishing Co., 1918

The Real Latin Quarter
Smith, Frank Berkeley
New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1901
Designer:  F. Berkeley Smith (1869-1931), signed “BS” on front cover.

As cover design budgets tightened in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, American publishers improvised, employing innovative techniques on dye-stamped covers.  The bindings above illustrate these popular, colorful methods, which served economic as well as aesthetic purposes. The designs at far left and far right incorporate the bookcloth as part of the color palette.  The limited palette, four colors each, distributed throughout the cover, contributes to the balanced, striking design. At far right, designers applied a split fountain technique, using multiple inks on one stamping die, creating a dynamic color gradient.