Title: The Kingdom of Books
Author(s): William Dana Orcutt
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Description: Brown cloth, gold gilt cover, top edges gold gilt.
As a bibliophile, I couldn’t get away from this book. It was also written by a bibliophile about the history of printing, publishing, binding, and reading. Basically all the things that fascinate me!
The book itself is also just pretty to look at, if you can’t tell in the images. For being 90 years old, it’s in pristine condition and still has the tissue guard over the title page. If there is, like, an ideal size/weight/texture of a book, this one is pretty close. You know when you hold a book in two hands and it just feels right? It just fits comfortably? This one is like that.
The text inside is also nice and big for easy reading, not to mention it’s chock full of illustrations to demonstrate book things, such as the “Prime Ministers To the Book” like Aldus Manutius (pictured) and their contributions to book printing and publishing.
There are also detailed descriptions of the different types of designs and where they originated. The Grolier binding, probably the inspiration for this book’s cover, is pictured here, too. Though there are more and more pages of other ornate book covers over the centuries, all of which are brilliant. (I may revisit this post to share more pictures of these, since I doubt they can be found online anywhere.)
One of my favorite, albeit tiny, things is the font throughout the book. I’ve seen this before in vintage texts, but I don’t know the reason or the name for it (yet). It’s the style of the Cs and Ts when they’re next to each other in a given word. For example, the words “Distinctly” and “Abstract” and “Exacting” in the photo I took of a random page. You can see the top of the T curling back to the crown of the C. If anyone knows anything about the why’s or when’s for this, I’d love to know!