A Halloween Exhibit of Victorian Publishers’ Bookbindings

A temporary exhibit in Special Collections’ lobby showcases creepy and mysterious book cover designs in time for Halloween. “Thrills and Chills in Cloth” features British and American cloth bookbindings from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

In the late 1880s, book manufacturers developed a process to stamp bookcloth with colored ink. Publishers used this technology to issue books with stylized, pictorial covers which were decorated by block stamping the cloth covered boards. The designs on display reflect the spooky, mysterious, or creepy-crawly content of the pages inside — such as this example, issued by London publisher Arthur Pearson in 1899. The cover recreates a portion of an illustration inside the book, by artist Benjamin E. Minns.

“Thrills and Chills in Cloth” will be on display through the end of October.

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