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J. Franklin Mowery experimental case construction specimen


Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Delaware Library Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

John Franklin Mowery was the head of conservation at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., from 1977 until his retirement in 2013. He trained in Europe at the National Academy of Fine Arts in Hamburg, Germany, and the National Arts Academy in Vienna, Austria, before being awarded the titles of Master Binder and Conservator. He developed and perfected numerous techniques used in paper conservation and has published and lectured extensively on bookbinding and book conservation.

“Restore Paper: Conservation by J. Franklin Mowery” (accessed on September 4, 2015 and September 22, 2016) Information derived from the collection.

This single volume is a specimen of a case construction binding created by John Franklin ("Frank") Mowery, a bookbinder and former head conservator at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.

The case consists of multi-colored inlaid leather straps stretched over cardboard boards. The excess leather has been folded and glued under the boards. Mowery attached six separate strips of multi-colored leather to the bottom edge of the case’s back cover. A piece of brown leather has been wrapped around the top of the case’s front cover, spine, and back cover and glued into place on both the exterior and interior of the case. A strip of green leather has been wrapped and glued in the same manner around the bottom of the case’s front cover, spine, and back cover.

The book block consists of unlined paper signatures that have been sewn into the guards. The leaves have been trimmed, but maintain a rough edge. Some of the leaves were not trimmed as fully, and have been folded inward to maintain a consistent trim edge. Mowery attached hand-sewn, multi-colored headbands to the top and bottom of the spine.

Mowery wrote an inscription in blue ink on the first page of the volume, asking an unknown recipient not to “take the technique of this model serious[ly]” since “it was intended to see what the box construction would look like.” The name “Mowery” was also written on this page in pencil. There are several pencil scribbles throughout the volume. The last leaf has been partially torn out.

  1. Item 0179: Shelved in SPEC MSS 0097

Gift of Robert D. Fleck, September 2015

Processed by E. Evan Echols, 2015. Processed and encoded by Elizabeth Jones-Minsinger, January 2017.

University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2017 January 11
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce isrequired from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library,

Collection Inventory

J. Franklin Mowery experimental case construction specimen, approximately 1970-2010.
Item 0179
Physical Description

1 volume

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