In the 16th century books were usually bound in leather or vellum. Kill the animals and harvest their pelts. Process the pelts by removing the flesh from one side and the hair from the other. Scrape them so that they are uniformly thin throughout their surface. Then tan them so that they can be used for shoes and belts and hats and other things . . . like bookbindings. Then, if you have the money, decorate the covers with gold or in other ways. Read more
Over the past several months, the Phillips Library has shared in the excitement of discovering the stories of the Ropes family in preparation for the reopening of the Ropes Mansion on May 23rd—after the recent restoration of the interior. Here, I’ll share some highlights uncovered during the cataloging of the Ropes family book collection.
Copyright Peabody Essex Museum. Photo Catherine Robertson.
One of the great pleasures of being a librarian in a rare-book setting is seeing the treasures the library owns. The texts are important, and they are helpful to scholars throughout the world (thanks to our online catalog), and many of the things in the collection are simply beautiful. One element of their beauty is the papers used in their production. And one material that has been around for more than 300 years is marbled paper.