Scaleboard Bindings with Julia Miller

Scaleboard Bindings

Lecture from Julia Miller

Thursday April 26, 2012

6:00 pm

North Bennet Street School, Boston


This lecture is free and open to the public and is co-sponsored by the New England Chapter of the Guild of Book Workers and North Bennet Street School.  Please register online at so we can prepare an appropriate space for the number attending.


Drawing from her study of 350 scaleboard bindings in library collections, Julia Miller explores the variety of structural elements and material combinations used on American imprints bound in scaleboard.

Scaleboard, also known as scabbard, is thin wood that was used for bindings in Europe and Britain until around 1600 (and much less so thereafter). The material was incorporated into American bindings as early as the 1680s (and probably earlier) and was used through the 1840s. Scaleboard was used in place of paste or pulpboard long after those materials were widely available in America and Boston is considered the center of early scaleboard/scabbard use based on the number of Boston imprints that survive in scaleboard bindings. Through her research and presentations, Julia aims to increase awareness of these bindings and increase the identification and description of these bindings in research collection cataloguing.


Introduction to Scaleboard

A hands-on seminar with Julia Miller

Friday and Saturday, April 27-28, 2012

North Bennet Street School, Boston


Please register online at


The first day of the workshop focuses on building a solid understanding of the variety of structural elements encountered in collections of scaleboard bindings. The day includes a presentation by the instructor, hands-on examination of historical binding examples, discussion and descriptions done by students in teams. During the bench portion of the workshop, students create a cutaway model of a full leather scaleboard binding. Students also create a set of structure and material samplers to use as aids when working with Americana collections.

Book Cover Design in Renaisance England

Thanks to Sam Ellenport for inviting us all to the following talk.
Sam Ellenport will give a talk at the Mass. Center for Renaissance Studies at U/Mass Amherst on October 26 at 4pm.   The topic will be “Book Cover Design during the Renaissance in England.
“Design reflected the wealth of the community of purchasers, mirrored the shrinking size of books, and remained bi-laterally symmetrical during this time.”
All are welcome.

Poetry on the Page

Rhode Island Center for the Book at Rhode Island Council for the Humanities presents
2011 Art of the Book Program

Friday, September 30, 2011
7:30 pm
at Fleet Library, Rhode Island School of Design, 15 Westminster Street, Providence, RI


Forrest Gander, 2011 Witter Bynner Poetry Fellow, and Professor of Literary Arts and Comparative Literature at Brown University, performs his poetry and explains his collaborations with visual artists and Spanish speaking poets.

introducers include  John Cole, Director of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, and Robert Casper , from the Poetry and Literature Center in the Library of Congress an accompanying EXHIBIT in the Fleet Library of Forrest Gander’s books and Rhode Island School of Design student poetry books which explore the book form as well as content.

Saturday, October 15, 2011
2:30 pm
Providence Athenaeum, 251 Benefit Street, Providence, RI

LECTURE: “50 YEARS ON THE BURNING DECK” with Keith and Rosemarie Waldrop
Founded in 1961 by Keith and Rosemarie Waldrop, Burning Deck Press has been publishing experimentalpoetry and prose in Rhode Island for 50 years.

EXHIBIT : October 1 – November 13
POETRY ON THE PAGE  at the Athenaeum
An exhibition that illustrates the visual art of poetry on the page and explores the collaboration between poets, artists, and printers.  On display will be examples of works by poets including e e cummings and T.S. Eliot as well as poets Charles Philbrick and Forrest Gander.

EXHIBIT : October, 2011
The Newport Historical Society will hold an exhibit in the Newport Colony House. This exhibit will celebrate the history of the James Franklin Press. Location is the Old Colony House, Washington Square, Newport, RI.

On Sunday, October 16, 2011, NHS is hosting a traveling exhibit by Kylie Durrie, proprietor of Power and Light Press , “MOVEABLE TYPE ” . She will bring letterpress to the public through demonstrations , all from a mobile print shop.  Kylie will be printing a letterpress broadside of a poem by Forrest Gander.

PARTNERS  for the events are:
Rhode Island Center for the Book,  Center for the Book in the Library of Congress,  Rhode Island Council for the Humanities,  Fleet Library at the Rhode Island School of Design, the Providence Athenaeum, Newport Historical Society, American Printing History Association/NE Chapter, John Russell  Bartlett Society, Brown University Library

for more information,  contact Shea’la Finch at

April Lectures and Events

We would like to pass on information about some New England area lectures and events of interest to our readers…

April 1 (Fri) 4:30 PM
A Romp Through Five Centuries
Amherst, MA

Sam Ellenport will be giving a talk entitled A Romp Through Five Centuries of Bookbinding Design on Friday, April 1 at 4:30.  It will be given at the Robert Frost Library at Amherst College, sponsored by The Friends of the Robert Frost Library; it is free and open to all.


Final Watts Program events:

The Watts Program in the History and Culture of the Book at the John Carter Brown Library is presenting two public events in the month of April.  These will be the final events of the year for the Watts Program.  Please come and bring a friend.

April 4 (Mon) 5:30 PM   Moveable Books and Book Collecting 

Margaret B. Stillwell Prize Evening with Suzanne Karr Schmidt (Brown ’01) the Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow at the Art Institute of Chicago who will give a talk on moveable books in the Renaissance with comparisons to books today. The Stillwell Prize evening is co-sponsored with the John Russell Bartlett Society. It is a prize awarded by the Bartlett Society to RI undergraduates for their book collections.  Ms. Karr Schmidt won the prize in 2001.  Open to all. Venue: John Carter Brown Library

April 27 (Wed) 6:00 PM Watts Pecha Kucha

The Book in My LIfe – An eclectic evening of very-short talks by professionals and students to close the Watts Program series on Transformations of the Book.

A wide variety of practitioners and students reveal their thoughts on “The Book in My Life” in a series of Pecha Kucha-style presentations. 20 slides, 20 seconds per slide – the clock is ticking. Expect tales of literature, shelving and entertaining reflections on the eccentricities of paper and ink. Ideal for anyone who’s ever liked a book a little more than they really should have. Moderated by Andrew Losowsky, Watts Program Provocateur-in-Residence.  Open to All. Venue: John Carter Brown Library.


April 28 (Thur) 6:00 PM
NBSS Bookbinding at 25
North Bennet Street School

Bookbinding Department Head, Jeffrey Altepeter, will give a short presentation about the bookbinding program at NBSS and invites attendees to bring a book or two along.  Jeff and his students will offer informal evaluations and offer suggestions about potential repairs or conservation treatments where appropriate… or just enjoy hearing about why it is a favorite book in your collection.

This event is open to the public but reservations and a $10 fee is requested.  Registration for this and many other workshops is available at or by contacting the director of continuing education, Megan Kenealy, at 617-227-0155 or

The Magic of Paper Marbling


Tuesday, March 15 Time: 6:00 – 7:30 pm | Cost: $10
North Bennet Street School
Boston, MA

Regina and Dan St.John of Chena River Marblers demonstrate traditional combed and stone pattern marbling and share samples of their work. Specializing in fine marbled papers, marbled silks and hand-bound books since 1987, Regina and Dan are masters of this fascinating craft.

Rooted in tradition, Chena River Marblers of Amherst Massachusetts use methods that were used in Renaissance Italy by bookbinders, but they never forget that the craft has its roots in the Middle and Far East.

Originating in China and Japan, marbling traveled the silk route into Persia and Turkey and on into Europe. Their marbling continues to encompass much of the past, though they do not hesitate to incorporate a 21st Century twist to pattern, color and technique.

To register (cost is $10) please see and click on lectures and demonstrations.

Lindisfarne Gospels

Patricia Lovett to lecture on the Lindisfarne Gospels

March 8, 2011
5:30 pm
Barker Hall, Room 133
(Humanities Center)
Harvard University
Cambridge, MA

Patricia Lovett, chair of CLAS (Calligraphy and Lettering Arts Society) in London, is the author of Calligraphy, Illumination and Heraldry as well as other important books on the subject– and of course a highly accomplished calligrapher and designer.

21st Century Letterpress Printing


a lecture by Steve Miller, professor and coordinator of the MFA in Book Arts Program, University of Alabama

Saturday, February 26, 2011
2 -3 pm
John Carter Brown Library, Brown University, Providence, RI
open to all

In January, the Master of Fine Arts Program in the Book Arts at the University of Alabama received the 2011 Institutional Award for Distinguished Achievement from the American Printing History Association.

This program is sponsored by the Watts Program in the History and Culture of the Book at the John Carter Brown Library, Brown University.

For more information, contact Lisa Long Feldman
lisa_long_feldman [at]

Bound for Glory

The Friends of Dartmouth College Library invite you to attend a special panel discussion in conjunction with the Guild of Book Workers Marking Time exhibition currently showcased in Baker-Berry Library through March 20, 2011.

Bound for Glory:
The Hand-Made Book as Aesthetic Object
and Conceptual Process

Panel participants:

  • Jeff Altepeter, Chair of the New England Chapter Guild of Book Workers
  • Richard Baker, Binder in private practice
  • Alex Halaz, Professor of English, teaching History of the Book
  • Stephanie Wolff, Conservation Technician at Dartmouth College

The panel will discuss personal insights in creating hand-made books and the role of book arts in the academic world.

Saturday, March 12, 2011
Treasure Room, Baker Library
Dartmouth College.  Hanover, NH

Reception and tour of the exhibit and conservation lab will follow the panel discussion.

This event is free and open to the public.
For more information please call (603)646-2236

Yale Preservation Lecture

And another invitation to pass along:

Please join us for the 3rd Preservation Lecture
March 17, 2011, Thursday, at 3:30 p.m.
Yale University
Sterling Memorial Library Lecture Hall
120 Wall St
New Haven, CT

But Storage is Cheap… Digital Preservation in the Age of Abundance
Abby Smith Rumsey

Ms Rumsey served as a member of the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access, as well as senior writer and editor of its final report.  In addition, she works with the Library of Congress’s National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP).

Please contact Roberta Pillette for more information– roberta.pillette [at]

Art of the Book Symposium

Art of the Book

March 12, 2011
9:00 am – 4:30 pm
White Church Community Center
Historic Deerfield

This one-day symposium will explore and celebrate the materials, methods and settings of books and the bookmakers’ art.  Sponsored by the Grace Slack McNeil Program for Studies in American Art at Wellesley College and the Office of Academic Programs at Historic Deerfield.

Free, pre-registration required.  For information and registration, please contact Julie Marcinkiewicz at 413-775-7179 or