May 26, 2022

Reference: Folger Shakespeare Library Launches Book Bindings Database

From a Letter to Colleagues Shared on Book_Arts-L. Discovered via Twitter.

The Folger Bindings Image Collection provides access to high resolution images and descriptions of bindings from the rare book and manuscript collections of the Folger Shakespeare Library. Bindings are chosen from the collection for photography and description not only because of decorative tooling but also for their physical
features as functional objects and cultural artifacts. Recording information about binding structure and decoration can reveal items where the same or similar tools may have been used at different times by different binders or binding workshops. Uncovering such similarities can also help link multiple bindings to individual owners, collectors, binders, or workshops –even in cases where a binder may be as yet unidentified –as well as to specific geographical regions or time periods.

Contents of the database:

+ Included among the over 3,000 images depicting over 1,000 bindings
are descriptions and depictions of

+ bindings in our collection of incunabula, including for instance this 15th century German half-leather and wood board binding on a 1481 Nuremberg edition of Platina’s Vitae pontificum;

+ bindings by 18th century English bookbinder Roger Payne;

+ fore-edges that are
gauffered or

+ identified and unidentified armorial bindings.

Most of the records in this database represent new bindings research and photography created by Folger Rare Bindings Specialist and former Head of Conservation J. Franklin Mowery, with the assistance of Bindings Database Intern Rachel Bartgis.

Learn More About the Database

Direct to Folger Shakespeare Book Bindings Database

See Also: Access the Complete Folger Shakespeare Digital Library
More than 50,000 images are available.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.