The Value of Historic Bookbindings: A St Andrews Perspective, which highlighted the uniqueness of the bindings of early printed books and how they can contribute to our knowledge of not just the history of a specific book, but also the history of how previous owners or readers encountered texts as they were passed through from hand to hand.

Echoes from the Vault

On 21-22 November, Special Collections welcomed David Pearson, former Director of Culture, Heritage & Libraries for the City of London Corporation and author of Provenance Research in Book History (1994),English Bookbinding Styles (2005) and Books as History (2008), for a workshop on provenance in printed books. Over the course of two days, staff, students and academics were treated to a full programme of sessions ranging from the general principles of provenance, through annotations, palaeography, bookplates and heraldry. Pearson illustrated his sessions using examples gleaned from the St Andrews University Library collections which he had selected in an intensive research day in the stacks with Elizabeth Henderson, Rare Books Librarian.

An example of manuscript additions and a dried plant sample, found in an 18th century gardening manual.

A discussion regarding the content of some particularly difficult annotations and ownership inscriptions – palaeographers never agree!

The end paper of…

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