Workshop Content by Day

See what content to expect each day of the History of Bookbinding from 200 to 1900: A Structure-Based Perspective workshop. 

Daily schedule: 9am to 4pm. Lunch and other breaks will vary from day-to-day. We will provide attendees with a detailed schedule. 

Julia Miller will be the presenter unless otherwise noted.


  • Welcome breakfast and introductions
  • Opening remarks from Martha Conway, Director, Special Collections Research Center
  • Workshop overview 
  • Special lecture by Marieka Kaye — Exploring Plant-Based Substrates Beyond Paper
  • Special lecture by Amy Crist — Chinese, Japanese, and Korean Bookmaking: Structures, Materials, Techniques
  • The early Coptic codex, 3rd to 6th century
    • The tablet as proto-codex?
    • A period of structural experimentation utilizing papyrus, parchment, and leather to create single- and multi-quire codices in various formats.
    • Stays, guards, tackets, stabbing, and unsupported link-style sewing to attach texts; semi-limp leather covers lined with papyrus. 
  • Focus on the Nag Hammadi Codices.


  • The mid-millennial Coptic codex, 5th and 6th century 
    • Parchment text substrates; unsupported link sewing, spine linings, evidence of endbands; leather spines and wooden boards, full leather and papyrus boards: proto-case bindings?
    • Wrapping bands with bone slips, and bookmark attachments.
    • More elaborate decoration.
  • The development of late-Coptic bindings, 7th to 12th century and beyond 
    • Often-large multi-quire manuscripts, usually written on parchment; more complex binding structures: sewing, hinged board attachment, spine linings, endbanding, and edge attachments; more elaborate and complex cover decoration.
    • Coptic and Arabic binding – transitions.
  • Special lecture by Evyn Kropf: Exploring bindings and book structures of Islamic manuscripts


  • Who influenced whom?
    • Traditional Ethiopic sewn-board binding structures and protective enclosures.
    • The pesky anomaly of St. Cuthbert’s Gospel of St. John (the Stonyhurst Gospel) in England.
    • Hebrew scrolls, Hebrew bindings: adaptation, loss, and conjecture.
  • Tradition and individuality: Greek binding structures
    • Influences from Ethiopic and Coptic bindings; the Byzantine quandary; traditional Greek and “hybrid” Greek structure.
  • Moving West
    • The missing link? Armenian binding structure and the appearance of supported sewing; influence moving from the West to the Near East?
    • Western binding and the dominance of supported sewing and laced-on wooden-boards: Carolingian, Romanesque, and early medieval bindings.
  • Everywhere all at once and for a long time after.
    • Medieval and later gothic bindings, the incunable period and beyond.
    • Why so many gothic bindings survive: the numbers made, and their sturdy structures?


  • Selected British and European binding Types, 15th to 19th Century
  • Special lecture by Pablo Alvarez — Defining Humanist Bookbinding: A Review


  • Some Pre-Colonial Book forms and South and North American Colonial and Post-Colonial Bindings
  • American binding continued – eighteenth-century binders, binderies, and bindings
  • Special lecture by Shannon Zachary — Faster, Cheaper, Prettier: Bookmaking in the Nineteenth Century (Book Structures)
  • Special lecture by Cathleen Baker — Faster, Cheaper, Prettier: Bookmaking in the Nineteenth Century (Cover Design and Technology)
  • Closing reception and farewells