The lost Gutenbergs

Early last month, The Saint ran a piece on The Lost Gutenbergs, a project started in 2007 by Tim Yancey. Its aim is to bind all 128 remaining copies of the Cooper Square Gutenberg Bibles (a facsimile printed in 1961 in a run of 1000) in 15th century bindings. It’s estimated that each binding takes 500 to 600 hours of labor to create. Although these facsimile pages are obviously not as historically significant as those of an incunabula, their binding has helped uncover at least one mystery—that of the alum-tawed pigskin used to cover the original Gutenberg Bibles. The revival of the forgotten technique used to create this material means that it is one again on the market for bookbinders.

The Lost Gutenbergs project has its own website, and if you’re interested in bookbinding and the processes used to create the facsimile pages, I highly recommend you check it out. The descriptions aren’t in depth, but they at least outline the huge amount of work involved. The site also features a history section pertaining to the Cooper Square Gutenberg Bibles.

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