The Translantic Trade
Bookbinding in The Colonies

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Binder's Tickets: Tracing a Binding's Origins

Throughout the eighteenth and early nineteenth century some bookbinders placed tickets inside their books as a form of advertisement. Binder's tickets are an important clue that help historians, like Mr. Spawn, identify the origins of a binding.
Binder's Ticket for John Brown of London
Binding: Willman Spawn Collection, MSA SC 5797-1-311
Original contents: Unlocated
Binder's Ticket, Patrick Brown of London
CHANCERY COURT (Chancery Papers, Exhibits) Wallace, Davidson & Johnson Waste Book
January 1, 1774-March 31, 1775, Volume B1, MSA S528-18

Some transatlantic merchants, including the London/Annapolis firm of Wallace, Davidson, and Johnson, had business arrangements with particular stationers and binders. Tickets for Patrick Brown appear in several of the Wallace, Davidson, and Johnson account books from the 1770s and 1780s. The firm purchased books from him for use in their London office and also in Maryland, where they did much of their business. One particular account book shows the firm purchased more than 72 pounds sterling of materials from Brown.

Entry from an account book
CHANCERY COURT (Chancery Papers, Exhibits)
Wallace, Davidson & Johnson Order Book, page 147
April 25, 1771-February 4, 1774, MSA S528-27

The Wallace, Davidson and Johnson account books provide a wealth of information about a variety of Maryland imports from the 1770s until the early 1800s. Their 1771-1774 account book of exports to Maryland documents the importation of a variety of bookbinding materials including pasteboard for making book covers, reams of uncut paper, printed books, and different types of blank books.
Binding containing Wilsonn & Co. of London Binder's Ticket
Binding: Willman Spawn Collection, MSA SC 5797-1-308
Original contents: Queen Anne's County Register Of Wills (Administration Accounts), 1770-1784, Liber SC 2, MSA C1335-3

This binding is one of several volumes of Maryland county records with a binder's ticket from the prominent London bookseller Wilsonn & Co., who operated throughout the middle eighteenth century. Blank books with Wilsonn & Co. tickets were used in the Maryland courts from 1740 to the 1770s.

Next: Watermarks: Bringing to Light Hidden Information.

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