When it says Lives, Lives, Lives on the label, label, label

As I’ve mentioned before, one of my favorite things is to discover some feature of a book as it was originally issued, that has been lost in most of the copies of the book as they exist today. This copy of Johnson’s Lives of the English Poets has just such a feature. When new, all copies of this four-volume set included a sheet of spine labels that the purchaser could affix to the spines of the temporary pasteboard bindings the set was sold in. The vast majority of purchasers would have either cut this sheet out to put the labels on, or simply thrown it away and put a more permanent leather binding on the books. That’s why it’s nice to find a copy with the sheet of labels intact and unused, 225 years later. I’ve also included a photo of another copy, where the labels were applied as intended.

Labels of Johnson's Lives of the English Poets
Spines of Johnson's Lives of the English Poets

Published in:John Overholt |on March 10th, 2006 |Comments Off on When it says Lives, Lives, Lives on the label, label, label

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