Archive for October, 2015

Flat Back Hard Case Binding

October 11th, 2015

This is part three in a series of four blog posts about types of bindings found in the Rare Book Room at Gleeson Library. John Hawk, Head of Special Collections, was nice enough to pull some examples for these blog posts. This week I will discuss flat back hard case binding.

To me, flat back hard case binding is the most common format of modern bindings, especially those I encountered in my work in the Reference Department, because it is an economical approach. The text block is rarely rounded intentionally, and is only connected to the case by the end sheets, which are glued down. The text block is not sewn/laced into the boards. In this scenario, it is possible to construct the case (whether it is covered in cloth, leather, or glossy card-stock) and sew the text block separately. Once the two components have been completed, the text block is cased in in a fairly simple process of applying paste or adhesive to each end sheet and slowly closing the cover of the case to make contact and set the adhesive.

Looking for peace : poems. by R.L. Barth; published by Abattoir Editions

This is a high quality example of a contemporary flat back hard case binding, in its fine rag paper with deckled edges, letter press text in black and gold, dignified sage cloth cover, and dainty ivory endbands.

Title page of Looking for Peace, featuring black and gold type and an epigraph from the Old Testament Book Jeremiah. Poems by R. L. Barth, Published by Abattoir Editions, The University of Nebraska at Omaha, 1985.
Clear view of the headband and flat back of the spine. The text block is not rounded. This method of binding suits thinner editions best, because the weight of the text block does not sag from the hinges.
Clear view of the headband and flat back of the spine. The text block is not rounded. This method of binding suits thinner editions best, because the weight of the text block does not sag from the hinges.
Another angle of the flat back, tail, and tailband.
Another angle of the flat back, tail, and tailband.
Double spread of a poem featured in Looking for Peace. Notice the deckled edges of the paper.
Double spread of a poem featured in Looking for Peace. Notice the deckled edges of the paper.

Happy little people : rhymes and stories about and for them. by Mary D. Brine; color plates and text illustrations by Paul King.

Front cover of the children's book Happy Little People, published in 1989.
Front cover of the children’s book Happy Little People, published in 1898.
The hinge inside the front cover demonstrates the single sheet of paper that extends from the text block to cover, onto which it is pasted down. The flat spine is also evidence.
The hinge inside the front cover demonstrates the single sheet of paper that extends from the text block to case, onto which it is pasted down. The flat spine is also evidence.
Another example of the interior hinge. Also notice the natural degradation of the cloth and paper cover that were pasted over the boards during the case construction.
Another example of the interior hinge. Also notice the natural degradation of the cloth and paper cover that were pasted over the boards during the case construction.
Full page color plate illiustration and frontispiece of Happy Little People.
Full page color plate illiustration and frontispiece of Happy Little People.
Full page color plate and text illustration from Happy Little People.
Full page color plate and text illustration from Happy Little People.

See you next time for the final installment of this series, in where we’ll look at classic rounded back bindings with the boards laced in!


Flat Back Hard Case Binding

October 11th, 2015

This is part three in a series of four blog posts about types of bindings found in the Rare Book Room at Gleeson Library. John Hawk, Head of Special Collections, was nice enough to pull some examples for these blog posts. This week I will discuss flat back hard case binding.

To me, flat back hard case binding is the most common format of modern bindings, especially those I encountered in my work in the Reference Department, because it is an economical approach. The text block is rarely rounded intentionally, and is only connected to the case by the end sheets, which are glued down. The text block is not sewn/laced into the boards. In this scenario, it is possible to construct the case (whether it is covered in cloth, leather, or glossy card-stock) and sew the text block separately. Once the two components have been completed, the text block is cased in in a fairly simple process of applying paste or adhesive to each end sheet and slowly closing the cover of the case to make contact and set the adhesive.

Looking for peace : poems. by R.L. Barth; published by Abattoir Editions

This is a high quality example of a contemporary flat back hard case binding, in its fine rag paper with deckled edges, letter press text in black and gold, dignified sage cloth cover, and dainty ivory endbands.

Title page of Looking for Peace, featuring black and gold type and an epigraph from the Old Testament Book Jeremiah. Poems by R. L. Barth, Published by Abattoir Editions, The University of Nebraska at Omaha, 1985.

Clear view of the headband and flat back of the spine. The text block is not rounded. This method of binding suits thinner editions best, because the weight of the text block does not sag from the hinges.

Clear view of the headband and flat back of the spine. The text block is not rounded. This method of binding suits thinner editions best, because the weight of the text block does not sag from the hinges.

Another angle of the flat back, tail, and tailband.

Another angle of the flat back, tail, and tailband.

Double spread of a poem featured in Looking for Peace. Notice the deckled edges of the paper.

Double spread of a poem featured in Looking for Peace. Notice the deckled edges of the paper.

Happy little people : rhymes and stories about and for them. by Mary D. Brine; color plates and text illustrations by Paul King.

Front cover of the children's book Happy Little People, published in 1989.

Front cover of the children’s book Happy Little People, published in 1898.

The hinge inside the front cover demonstrates the single sheet of paper that extends from the text block to cover, onto which it is pasted down. The flat spine is also evidence.

The hinge inside the front cover demonstrates the single sheet of paper that extends from the text block to case, onto which it is pasted down. The flat spine is also evidence.

Another example of the interior hinge. Also notice the natural degradation of the cloth and paper cover that were pasted over the boards during the case construction.

Another example of the interior hinge. Also notice the natural degradation of the cloth and paper cover that were pasted over the boards during the case construction.

Full page color plate illiustration and frontispiece of Happy Little People.

Full page color plate illiustration and frontispiece of Happy Little People.

Full page color plate and text illustration from Happy Little People.

Full page color plate and text illustration from Happy Little People.

See you next time for the final installment of this series, in where we’ll look at classic rounded back bindings with the boards laced in!


Michael J. Kotlanger, S.J.

October 9th, 2015

All of us at the Gleeson Library were shocked and saddened this week to learn that Fr. Kotlanger had passed away after a long illness. Fr. Kotlanger was appointed Archivist in 1985 and served the Library and University for over thirty years. A historian by training, Fr. Kotlanger loved his work in Archives and his knowledge of the University’s history was encyclopedic. His passing is a huge loss to the institution and to the many colleagues, friends, students, faculty, staff and researchers he assisted over the years. He was a kind, thoughtful, and generous person who enjoyed conversation. Fr. Kotlanger had a good sense of humor, loved to share stories, and always took time to inquire about others. A memorial posted outside the Archives office says it all: “always a joy to talk to, to laugh with, and to just share knowledge.” Other tributes include “makes me smile at work,” “a great teacher,” and “a true friend.”

We will always remember you with great fondness, Fr. Kotlanger. Thank you for your collegiality, friendship, kindness, and sharing all of your gifts with us at the Gleeson Library and the University of San Francisco. May the four winds blow you safely home.

John Hawk
Head Librarian, Special Collections & University Archives


Michael J. Kotlanger, S.J.

October 9th, 2015

All of us at the Gleeson Library were shocked and saddened this week to learn that Fr. Kotlanger had passed away after a long illness. Fr. Kotlanger was appointed Archivist in 1985 and served the Library and University for over thirty years. A historian by training, Fr. Kotlanger loved his work in Archives and his knowledge of the University’s history was encyclopedic. His passing is a huge loss to the institution and to the many colleagues, friends, students, faculty, staff and researchers he assisted over the years. He was a kind, thoughtful, and generous person who enjoyed conversation. Fr. Kotlanger had a good sense of humor, loved to share stories, and always took time to inquire about others. A memorial posted outside the Archives office says it all: “always a joy to talk to, to laugh with, and to just share knowledge.” Other tributes include “makes me smile at work,” “a great teacher,” and “a true friend.”

We will always remember you with great fondness, Fr. Kotlanger. Thank you for your collegiality, friendship, kindness, and sharing all of your gifts with us at the Gleeson Library and the University of San Francisco. May the four winds blow you safely home.

John Hawk
Head Librarian, Special Collections & University Archives


Book Reviews from Students III

October 5th, 2015

Still looking for something good to read? Here’s the next installment of reading ideas, via book reviews by the student assistants of Gleeson Library.

PB2621Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife, reviewed by Simran Kaur

Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife by Peggy Vincent is a real treat for those interested in women’s health. When I started reading and found out the author was a practitioner in Berkeley, CA, and that I actually know a midwife who used to work with Peggy, I was even more mesmerized. The personal stories, hardships, and triumphs told in the tale were ones that any nursing student, new nurse/midwife can truly relate to. She was a key member to the midwifery movement in the 1980’s when midwifery was made difficult because of insurance companies not wanting to provide coverage.

Peggy Vincent discusses concerns about taking birth and turning it into a medical condition that has to be resolved at the hospital. Even low risk births are done at hospitals and in the past lay midwives would do home births to relatively low risk pregnancies and these babies and moms had healthy outcomes. As you read her tales, you wonder if we are relying on technology too often. There are various monitors in the labor and delivery room in hospitals today that are on mom and baby. Imagine the stress this adds on both the mother and baby who are getting ready for such an enduring and laborious (no pun intended) event.  Granted, technological advances have saved complicated scenarios in labor but that high level of risk doesn’t necessarily apply to every woman who comes into the maternity ward. We’ve got to move towards a society that believes giving birth at home is the most natural and safe way—it’s not an “alternative” way. After reading this book, I am definitely hooked, and it would be an honor to meet Peggy Vincent herself one day and tell her what an inspiration she is!

the-martian-chroniclesThe Martian Chronicles, reviewed by Brianna Cockett-Mamiya

Ray Bradbury’s 1950 science-fiction short story collection, The Martian Chronicles, follows the colonization of Mars by humans, starting in the year 1999 with the United States’ first successful trip to Mars, and ending in 2057 with the destruction of most of the population on earth and Mars. Each story in the collection beautifully and poetically embodies a variety of themes: escapism, isolation, failures of colonization and of “the American Dream,” freedom, etc. I’ve read works by Bradbury in the past and thoroughly enjoyed them, and reading The Martian Chronicles gave me an even higher appreciation for his work. Chronicles was not only really beautifully written, it was intellectually stimulating and entertaining. It was also really haunting and each story left me with the same feeling one might get after finishing an episode of the Twilight Zone. This publication honestly made me fall in love with the science-fiction genre. I think it’s been said before that many people who aren’t particularly fans of science-fiction would enjoy this book for the same exact reasons I enjoyed it.


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