Monday, December 4, 2006

Levenger Items Now Available

Early in 2006 several representatives of Levenger, the company that makes "tools for serious readers," visited the Library Company to explore the possibility of creating products based on the Library Company's collections. CEO Steve Leveen and his staff were excited by what they saw here, and Levenger has produced two items replicating objects in our collection. The first is an 18th-century leather fire bucket for use as a magazine or kindling holder, which will be available on Levenger's website in mid-November. The second is a 19th-century two-step library ladder, available currently on the Levenger website. Future projects may include bookends on which Benjamin Franklin's famous "Join, or Die" cartoon depicting a segmented snake will be laser engraved on natural American black cherry, and a book of aphorisms based on the sources Franklin used for his Poor Richard's sayings. To purchase these great new items, visit

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Conservation Department News

Recently Todd Pattison gave the Library Company his collection of 183 books with decorated endpapers. Some may remember that Mr. Pattison gave a colorful lunchtime talk in January titled "Decorated Endpapers, 1831 -1875." The talk focused on this unique collection which includes examples of all kinds of endpapers from the 19th century: machine ruled, type printed, stereotyped, advertising, marbled, embossed, engraved, lithographic, and ruling machine papers (different from machine ruled). This collection will be invaluable to anyone who wants to study this little-known aspect of book production.

Mr. Pattison, a book conservator with the Northeast Document Conservation Center, and the Library Company conservation staff share an interest in 19th-century cloth bindings. The conservation staff maintains a database of 19th-century publishers' bindings that will make its debut online before the end of the year, and they are working on numerous other binding research projects. Mr. Pattison has been very generous over the years, giving us bindings that fit well with our collection. Last year Mr. Pattison gave us his ribbon-embossed cloth binding collection. We are, yet again, very thankful to Todd Pattison for his good eye and his generosity!

Image: Inside front cover. Alice B. Haven. The Coopers; or, Getting Underway. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1858. Click image for larger view.

Friday, December 1, 2006

“Benjamin Franklin and the Birth of a Paper Money Economy.”

Last March the Library Company’s Program in Early American Economy and Society co-sponsored, with the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, a talk by University of Delaware economics professor Farley Grubb on “Benjamin Franklin and the Birth of a Paper Money Economy.” That engaging talk has now been published by the Philadelphia Fed as a handsomely illustrated booklet. You can request a copy from the Library Company or access the on-line version by following this link: 

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