By the end of the nineteenth century, bookbinding practices had widely declined to a dismal level with the use of ever poorer materials and techniques. Inferior paper, weak sewing materials and methods, and excessively pared leather to create bindings of extreme neatness and refinement all resulted in books with little strength or durability. The English Arts and Crafts movement, led by William Morris and others, revived interest in medieval bookmaking. Binders like T. J. Cobden-Sanderson and Douglas Cockerell advocated a return to early bookbinding methods in an attempt to raise the standards of the craft.
British, nineteenth century
Douglas Cockerell apprenticed at the Doves Bindery in the 1890s and went on to an influential career as a teacher of bookbinding methods. He was a strong advocate of durable bookbinding structure as the basis of sound work. This binding of a Sweynheym and Pannartz incunable shows a sympathetic return to blind tooling for the rebinding of early books. His Bookbinding and the Care of Books, published in 1901, is a classic manual in the field.
Author: Augustine, Saint, Bishop of Hippo
Title: De civitate Dei.
Published: Rome: Conradus Sweynheym and Arnoldus Pannartz, 1468.
Location: Scheide Library (WHS)
Call number: Scheide 2.5.6
Spine height: 39 cm

British, twentieth century
Several private presses associated with England's Arts and Crafts movement issued editions in laced parchment bindings, a return to the models of the sixteenth century. The examples here are from the Kelmscott Press and the Essex House Press.
Author: Dante Alighieri, 1265-1321
Title: Lo purgatorio di Dante Alighieri Fiorentino.
Published: Chelsea [London]: Nella stamperia di Ashendene, 1904.
Location: Rare Books (Ex)
Call number: 3127.332.11
Spine height: 20 cm

British, nineteenth century
Author: Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616
Title: The poems of William Shakespeare.
Published: London: Edward Arnold, 1899.
Location: Rare Books (Ex)
Call number: 3925.1899.2
Spine height: 24 cm

American, twentieth century
Recently several copies of editions by the sixteenth-century Lyons printer Sebastian Gryphius have been rebound in the conservation laboratory here at Princeton. This laced papercase construction has become a valuable rebinding option used by many conservators across the country today. It makes for a simple, durable, and sympathetic binding, especially for early printed books.
Author: Agustín, Antonio, 1517-1586
Title: Emendationum et opinionum libri quatuor.
Published: Lyons: Sebastianus Gryphius, 1544.
Location: Rare Books: Gryphius Collection(GRY)
Call number: GRY 544.03
Spine height: 17 cm

American, twentieth century
Another Princeton rebinding.
Author: Vettori, Pietro, 1499-1585
Title: Posteriores Petri Victorii castigationes in epistolas, quas vocant familiares.
Published: Lyons: Sebastianus Gryphius, 1541.
Location: Rare Books: Gryphius Collection(GRY)
Call number: GRY 541.11 c.2
Spine height: 18 cm

American, twentieth century
The American binder Peter Franck repaired and bound this incunable for Elmer Adler in the mid-1940s. He intentionally left the binding without a covering to expose the structure completely. It takes us back to the early methods of medieval binders. We are fortunate to have Franck's letter to Adler explaining his work on this book.
Author: Pacifico, da Cerano, ca. 1424-1482
Title: Summula de pacifica conscientia.
Published: Milan: Filippo da Lavagna, 1479.
Location: Rare Books: Incunabula Collection (ExI)
Call number: 5872.692
Spine height: 21 cm