PITTSBURG — In the Victorian-Era book covers were meticulously made by artists with details like embossing, but this is a thing of the past as publishers now use dust jackets as the cover.
Pittsburg State University Curator of Special Collections and University Archives Steve Cox has studied books, both rare and special, for almost 10 years.
Cox said in the late 1800s and early 1900s artists would design directly onto the book covers with gold impressions and embossing.
He said the dust jacket was once a cover which was used to protect the book while it was safely brought home and was also used as an advertisement in the stores with the title, author and price. Generally the dust jacket was thrown away.
Nowadays, rare books from the past which still have their dust jacket could be very valuable to curators, Cox said.
“This is a period that’s long gone,” he said. “Publishers don’t illustrate books like they used to.”
On Monday the community can learn how people made covers in the 19th century and how this has changed over time at 6:30 p.m. at the Pittsburg Public Library meeting room.
Cox will share a powerpoint and bring books from this era which are from the special collection at PSU’s Axe Library and his personal collection.
Pittsburg Public Library Assistant Director AnnDee Peterson said the library likes to share anything related to art and books and in this case it involves both.
“We thought it would be interesting to talk about how they designed book covers before dust jackets,” she said.
— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.