Publishers' Bindings


A full pdf of the catalog can be downloaded here.


The printed catalog is $20 and comes with a suite of 16 postcards. It can be ordered here.


This online catalog is divided into these pages:




This catalog has been years in the planning, and is issued in memory of Rachelle Markley, the founder of Crooked House, who would have made this much better.


We are pleased to see that, in the past ten or fifteen years, publishers have found a renewed interest in attractive cloth bindings. Penguin’s Clothbound Classics series has much to do with this revival: #clothboundclassics has over 5.5 billion views on TikTok, a fact which also testifies to the youthful audience of modern publishers’ bindings. According to the Clothbound Classics designer Coralie Bickford-Smith, her inspiration was Ruari McLean’s Victorian Publishers Book-Bindings in Cloth & Leather.


We are happy to present the following Victorian (and beyond) publishers’ cloth bindings. Special attention has been paid to the three people most influential in design: Sarah Wyman Whitman, Lee Thayer, and Margaret Armstrong. Each helped formulate the way we think of books, and the success of their designs ironically helped pave the way for the decorative dust jackets which would eventually all but eliminate the market for publishers’ bindings. The fact that these women were able to be so successful in an industry then predominantly male is a testament to their artistic visions.


When known, designer’s name is in brackets before the author’s name.


Not all dust jackets are photographed; we have usually only done so when relevant to the binding.


Rather than writing “very good” or “near fine” repeatedly, we will just say here that all books are in very good condition unless noted; see descriptions for flaws.


All errors are Scott’s. Standard terms apply. Please enjoy the catalog,


Rachelle Markley & Scott Givens
January 2023