Publishers Bindings through
The works of Mrs. Sherwood
(Harper and Brothers, 1834)
As the era of cloth bindings began, most book covers were plain, sometimes with a paper label pasted to the spine. By mid-century, advancements in cloth-making and stamping technology allowed binders to work with cloth covers in the same way they had worked with leather. Binders commonly blind-stamped a design on the front cover and stamped the title of the book in gold in the spine.
According to Allen and Gullans, the first publishers'
binding is most often pinpointed as appearing in
began to case entire collections of books into
covers." Books of the 1830s were part of an emerging
and artists eschewed foreign formulas in favor
of a distinctive American style. Ralph
Waldo Emerson figured
prominently into this American
birthing the Transcendentalist movement
with his book Nature. Edgar
Allen Poe also was an
important American writer of the time. Works with
particularly stories regarding frontier life and
legends (such as Davy
Crockett, who was killed in the Battle
of the Alamo (1836), wrote the Narrative
of the Life of David Crockett of the State of Tennessee in
1834. He also was the basis for
the character "Nimrod
Wildfire" in James
Kirke Paulding's wildly successful 1831 play The
Lion of the West.
(E.L. Carey & A. Hart, 1839)
Families still enjoyed singing around the family
piano. Folk hymns such as "Rock
of Ages" were
among the popular tunes, as was the patriotic "My
Country 'Tis of Thee." The first
American ballet dancers made their debut.
Other forms of entertainment included touring
circus menageries and horse shows. Phrenology,
the study of bumps on a person's skull, was the
The new culture spread easily throughout
the population with the aid of penny
newspapers– America's first true mass
media. The cheap sheets also provided entertainment
reports and hoaxes. Another type of publication
that emerged during this
journal, led by William
Lloyd Garrison's Liberator. Popular
magazines such as Godey's
Lady's Book allowed readers learn about
the latest fashions.
However, many Americans were more interested in the activities of controversial President Andrew Jackson. Among the key events of the Jacksonian Era were the Nullification Crisis in South Carolina and the economic panic that began with Jackson's refusal to re-charter the Second Bank of the United States. Jackson also encouraged Congress to pass the Indian Removal Act, which resulted in the forced migration of Cherokees from Georgia to Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears. A political party known as the Whigs organized in response to Jackson’s actions.
all books from 1830-1839 in PBO database
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Allen, Sue. Decorated Cloth
in America: Publisher’s Bindings, 1840-1910. Los
Angeles: UCLA, Center for 17th-
and 18th-Century Studies, William Andrews Clark Memorial
History, Kingwood College, http://kclibrary.nhmccd.edu/19thcentury1830.htm.
American Studies: Literature
On-line Textbook, http://www.auroraweb.com/america/timeline_files/1830.htm.
Coit, Margaret L., and the
editors of Life. The Sweep Westward, 1829-1849,
vol. 4 in The Life History of the United States.
New York: Time Inc., 1963.
Diehl, Edith. Bookbinding: Its Background and Technique.
New York: Dover, 1980.
Lehmann-Haupt, Hellmut, ed. Bookbinding in America.
Portland, ME: Southworth-Anthoensen, 1941.
Museum of Westward Expansion,
National Park Service, http://www.nps.gov/jeff/1830_1840.html.