Last Saturday, in the midst of the snow storm, I told you Susan and I set out for Old Books, the Unionville, NY bookstore. The owner, William McDonnell is a friendly sort of guy and, once you’re there for a bit, he begins to warm up and chat with you.
After searching for a while, I came up with this copy of Anatole France’s The Crimes of Sylvestre Bonnard, published in Boston in 1911. As you can guess, the cover attracted me.
Bill said that between 1880 and 1910 book covers reached new levels of sophistication and were works of art. If you look closely, you can see the artist’s initials in the lower right corner. Book designing was big business. Unfortunately, around 1910, wonderful book cover designs gave way to the paper book jacket.
So, now I’m on the search for more information about book covers between 1880-1910. I’ve ordered some books through interlibrary loan, contacted an author of a paper on the subject who is sending me a copy of her paper and I’ll see what I can dig up. This may be a whole new area of book collecting for me. (I’ve got all those Warwick bookshelves to fill up.)
Susan asked me whether I’m going to read this copy of the book or get a copy out of the library. But I think I’ve got to read this one, while being very careful–the paper is thin. But this is a beautiful book that should be enjoyed both by looking at it and reading it. I’ll let you know how it is.