Flat Back Journal

by Judy Sommerfeldt

The flat back book is one of the most familiar and basic structures in traditional bookbinding. It is a case binding which has been used since the 1820s and was developed to meet the increasing demands of the time for more accessible and affordable books. Rather than the prevailing binding method of lacing the book boards to the bookblock before an outer cover was attached, the case binding case was constructed separately from the bookblock and then the two were attached by gluing the hinges, sewing supports, and pastedowns to the case. This dramatic change in the binding process allowed for faster and cheaper production of books.

Today the flat back binding is typically used for a thinner book. The spine is straight and square and gives the book a solid and well-defined hinge joint. The textblock is usually a gathering of multiple signatures sewn over sewing tapes. These sewing supports provide strength to the case attachment. The spine of the case is not adhered to the spine of the textblock. Decorated paste downs, edge painting/decoration, endbands, and bookmarks are design options that can be used to add to the beauty of this binding. Because of its size and sturdiness the flat back book is an excellent choice for most any type of journal. 

In honor of the 150th anniversary of Yellowstone Park, specially selected historic prints of the park will be available to use for the paste downs of this book.


Disaster Prevention and Recovery for Private Collections

by Chris McAfee

This workshop will teach methods of preventing and preparing for disasters as well as salvaging books and other collection items from disasters. Participants will practice salvaging damaged items and will also prepare disaster management plans for their own collections.

Chris received a BFA in printmaking in 1993 from Brigham Young University where he began learning to bind books. He went on to receive an MFA in bookbinding from the University of Alabama where he began learning book conservation. He has spent the last 20 years conserving and preserving books, documents, photographs, and other artifacts. He currently works for the L. Tom Perry Special Collections as Head Conservator.