Silver and Hamel 2005

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Silver, Joel and Christepher de Hamel. Disbound and Dispersed: The Leaf Book Considered. The Caxton Club, 2005.

Christopher de Hamel, "The Leaf Book" (6-23)

"There are two themes in the prehistory of leaf books. The first is the practice of cutting up one book so that its pieces might be used to ornament or improve another book. The second is relic collecting. Both practices go back into the Middle Ages." (6)

first leaf book: Francis Fry, A Description of the Great Bible (1665) -- "The stated purpose of Fy's book was to help fellow collectors and others to identify the individual early printings of fourteen different folio editions of the English Bible." (9) -- many bibles lacked title pages -- "A reproduction might have served, but here is the bibliophile speaking: 'No description is equal to an actual lwaf.'" (9)

Gustav Edvard Klemming, librarian at the Royal Library in Stockholm, Sveriges äldre liturgiska Literatur (1879) -- extracted incunable missals from 16c bindings, reused as vellum wrappers, reassembled evidence into four Missal editions and breviaries from different dioceses, identified each one, then divided them into groups to create fifty copies of a leaf book

Falconer Madan, The ealy Oxford Press (1895) -- 700 copies -- "Following 8 photographic plates at the end are three small and utterly insignificant 17c leaves mounted on overlapping guards, captioned in pencil. They are simply to aid in identification of Oxford typefaces and were probably regarded as cheaper than the cost of commissioning a photogravure illustration." (11)

theme in 20c leaf books: "Each author needed to note the significance of the leaves included in order to justify the attention given to them, but he or she felt morally obligated to observe that no great vandalism had necessarily been perpetrated in breaking up precious volumes." (11)

William H. Arnold, First Report of a Book-Collector (1897-8) -- broke up complete books "as object lessons of the horrors of wear and damage" -- examples of foxing, facsimile, etc (11) -- and first photograph of actual bookworm near wormhole damage on paper

Caxton Club book of 1905 to celebrate Caxton's printing, each with a single leaf; for this purpose, club acquired 148 detached leaves from first ed of Caxton's Canterbury Tales, previously owned by the 4th early of Ashburnham

four other leaf books on Caxton, including 2 by booksellers to provide from possibly imperfect copies

"the most famous and probably the most influential leaf book of them all, A Nobel fragment, Being a Leaf of the Gutenberg Bible, 1450-1455, with a Bibliographical Essay by A. Edward Newton" pub'd 1921 by New York bookseller Gabriel Wells

importance of Caxton and Gutenberg in launching leaf book market; from there, "the history of leaf books moves naturally outward in two directions, both already touched on in the leaf collections of the 19c. The first pursues the beginnings of printing. The second follows the history of the Bible. Both are rooted principally in North America." (14)

Bibles -- "There is something in the sense that the Holy Bible is a sacred object and is therefor infinitely divisible without becoming less holy." -- like a relic (16)

"There is some uncertainty as to how far portfolios of separate leaves, like Ege's, should really qualify as leaf books, except, of course, that they are often accompanies by specially printed texts or captions." (19)

"George M. L. Brown of the Foliophiles, a New York dealer posing as a collectors' club" (19)

portfolios likely made for framing and hanging

Ege, partnership with Philip C. Duschnes to publish and distribute the portfolios

almost no leaf books produced in French and Italy -- French collectors don't want leaves (21)

fewer medieval manuscripts used in leaf books than printed books (21)

Grabhorn Press

The First Book Printed in Constantinople: An Original Leaf of Jacob ben Asher's 'Arba'ah Turim,' Constantinople, 1493 -- was going to be a leaf book but someone advised against breaking up, so facsimile (23)