Sunday, October 23, 2016

Happy Halloween from Alice C. Morse

I thought that Morse enthusiasts might enjoy seeing a couple of Morse's creepy drawings for the "At the Ghost Hour" series. Happy Halloween! 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

George Macdonald: Lilith, Salted With Fire and Far Above Rubies

In preparation for the publishers' bindings symposium at the Metropolitan Museum of Art next month (May 24), I'm making a concerted effort to post recent attributions and information on new discoveries that I have learned about since the publication of my book The Proper Decoration of Book Covers. I've known about some of these for quite some time, but as they can be rare and expensive, I wanted to make sure that the Met was able to purchase copies in good condition before I posted.
In this set of unsigned bindings on books written by George Macdonald, two of the covers - Salted With Fire and Far Above Rubies - are in Morse's collection of book covers that she gave to the Museum Library in 1924. This collection of 58 covers is now in the Department of Drawings and Prints. Copies of the books are in the Publishers' Bindings collection in the Thomas J. Watson Library. If they aren't cataloged now, they will be soon and you can find and request them on Watsonline.

The Thomas J. Watson Library of The Metropolitan Museum of Art owns Lilith both green and tan color variants. It is an unsigned binding. I have not yet found proof that allows me to confirm that this cover was designed by Morse but I speculate that it has, as the design is characteristic of other Morse covers in the Grotesque style.

Below you see Morse's unfinished display cover for Salted with Fire in gray cloth. In the advertisement above, it is stamped in reddish cloth (although it's difficult to discern). MMA 56.522.93. This and other Morse book covers can be seen in the Print Study Room, Dept. of Drawings and Prints (by appt.).

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

American Publishers’ Bindings, Artists of the Book, and the Decorative Arts. A Symposium

On May 24, 2016, The Metropolitan Museum of Art will be hosting a scholars' day symposium  in celebration of the Thomas J. Watson Library’s recent acquisition of a broad range of American decorated publishers’ bindings. The program will focus on the history, manufacture and conservation of American publishers’ bindings and the role of designers in the decorative arts. This program is invitational and will not be open to the public. The program will feature talks by Richard Minsky, Todd Pattison, Mindell Dubansky, Holly Phillips, Constance McPhee and Alice Cooney Frelinghuysen.  A report on the program is forthcoming.  

You can access the Watson Library's collection of decorative bindings through Watsonline.  Other materials are available by appointment in the Department of Drawings and Prints, including Margaret Armstrong's original botanical drawings for her book Western Wildflowers.  Some of Morse's design drawings at the Cooper-Hewitt Museum are now available online through this link:

In prepation for the symposium, several blog posts have been updated. If you have questions, please contact me at