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