Sometimes books surprise us, and not always for the reasons we expect. Is there something unusual about the book below? Is is maybe a bit more narrowly oblong than usual? Two years ago, I took Rare Book School’s course on descriptive bibliography. It was a great experience—it immersed me, and a group of other similarly […]

It’s the details thnt matter

There were two odd things happening in last week’s crocodile mystery, which featured an opening from the first English edition of Nicolàs Monardes’s Joyfull newes out of the newe founde worlde (STC 18005). The first was the easier to spot, assuming you paid attention to the information at the top of the page that we don’t usually […]

my syllabus is a quarto

As some of you know, I am the queen of folding exercises. It’s the only way to understand early modern book formats, and I like puttering around coming up with better ways to demonstrate this to my students and even to my blog readers (see here and, most recently, here). Because it’s that time of year […]

Deciphering signature marks

So, as those of you who have spent any time working with early modern printed books probably recognized, this month’s crocodile mystery focuses on signature marks. Below is the photo I posted last week, now with the signature mark circled in red: Signature marks are those letters, numbers, and sometimes symbols at the bottom of […]

DIY newsbook

No, I don’t mean it’s time to write your own news sheet newsbook. It’s time to fold your ownnewsbook! Why would you want to do this? Well, for one thing, it’s a handy way to understand and demonstrate to others the general principle of early modern format: multiple pages are printed onto a single sheet […]