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The Village Broadside

The Blog of Historic Deerfield

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Judging a Book by Its Covers: Bring on the Bling

A comparison of two bindings from a recent gift highlights changes in bookbinding technology over seven decades. My previous post showcased a rare colonial binding that featured gilt tooling in a very restrained, elegant design. By the 1840s, advances and changing tastes culminated in exuberant gold stamping in this title, telling a different story…

Judging a Book by its Covers: A Rare Colonial Binding

A recent library donation of rare books included the 22nd edition of “Hymns and Spiritual Songs” published in 1771. It joins six other hymnals written by Isaac Watts (1674-1748), an English Congregational minister and hymn writer (most notably “Joy to the World”), whose many hymnals were reprinted long after his death. Three in our collection boast a western Massachusetts provenance…

Nuremberg Chronicle

An Extraordinary Gift to the Library

The generosity of an anonymous donor has brought the extraordinary gift to the Henry N. Flynt Library of a large and varied group of important rare books. Among them is one of the masterpieces of early European printing: the Liber Chronicarum, or the Nuremberg Chronicle, published in Nuremberg, Germany, in 1493, less than 50 years after the printing of the landmark Gutenberg Bible.

Owen Jones’s Revolution in Color

In 1845, author Charles Hayter published the sixth edition of his popular artist’s manual An Introduction to Perspective, Practical Geometry, Drawing and Painting . Hayter, a noted portrait painter and drawing master to King George IV’s daughter Princess Charlotte, issued it several times beginning in 1813 until …

The Champneys: Deerfield’s Artistic Power Couple

In 1876, the Centennial World’s Fair in Philadelphia equally commemorated our country’s past and envisioned its bright future. This fused energy swept into Deerfield with the arrival of artist James Wells (“Champ”) Champney and his writer wife Elizabeth Williams (“Lizzie”) Champney that summer.