The first time I went into the Rare Books Room at the Magee Library where the Derry & Raphoe collection is stored I thought I would see shelves of lovely old books bound in leather, vellum and sometimes cloth. Instead, I saw shelves and shelves of books wrapped up in white acid free tissue paper, a little disappointing to be honest. Yesterday most of the team and I went to Magee for more books in need of in-situ work. Turns out that tissue paper makes the process of going through each shelf of books a little more enjoyable as each item suddenly becomes like a little present, sometimes a good one and other times a bit boring.
When I opened the wrapping on the above book I thought it was just some stingy bookbinder who run out of cloth and chose to sew two pieces together to make the correct size, an interesting bit of binding history, but not nearly as exciting as what was inside.
Turns out the bookbinder not only decided to sew two pieces of cloth together for the right fit, he also attached the cloth around the boards using a zig-zag stitch on the inside of the boards…who needs paste or glue?! I have to admit the attachment is still holding strong, not bad for a book whose publish date is 1825.