The Eighth Helen Warren DeGolyer Competition for American Bookbinding 2018

Bridwell Library’s triennial bookbinding competition is named for Helen Warren DeGolyer (1926–1995), a well-known supporter of the arts and education in Dallas, as well as a skilled devotee of design bookbinding. Following her testamentary wishes, her brother, Joseph Warren, and her children, Everett Lee DeGolyer and Edith DeGolyer, established in 1996 an endowment to support a triennial bookbinding competition, exhibition, and conference on the contemporary book arts to be held at Bridwell Library.

The competition challenges bookbinders to submit their proposals for a specific book held by Bridwell Library, as well as a recent example of their work. While the DeGolyer Award winner receives a commission to bind the book according to his or her proposal, the jury also selects award winners for excellence in fine binding and artistic design. The judges for this year’s competition include

Tish Brewer, The Center for Art Conservation

Bexx Caswell-Olson, Michigan State University Libraries

R. Arvid Nelsen, Bridwell Library

Ellen Buie Niewyk, Hamon Library, SMU

Priscilla Spitler, Recipient of the 2015 DeGolyer Award for American Bookbinding

A PDF of the catalog is available here

The 2018 commission book is volume four, Apocrypha, of The English Bible Containing the Old Testament & the New, published in Hammersmith by the Doves Press in 19031905. The competing designs and sample book bindings, as well as the bindings commissioned during past competitions, are included in this exhibit. The Doves Press Apocrypha, bound as issued, and volumes II, III, and V of the set in design bindings, are also in this year’s display.

Apocrypha, volume IV

Apocrypha, volume IV, from The English Bible Containing the Old Testament & the New. Hammersmith: Doves Press, 1903–1905.

The term “apocrypha” means “hidden things” and is used to specify writings outside of the canon of the Old Testament and New Testament. The Doves Press Apocrypha volume includes Jewish religious writings dating from approximately 300 B.C.E. to 70 C.E. Originally issued in five volumes, this set is lacking volume I. The three other volumes have been rebound as follows: Volume II, Second Samuel through Song of Solomon, bound by Hugo Peller in 1986; Volume III, Isaiah through Malachai, bound by Don Etherington in 1988; and Volume V, The New Testament, bound by Courtney Sheehan in 1986.

The Doves Press, founded in 1900 by Emery Walker (1851–1933) and Thomas J. Cobden-Sanderson (1840–1922), was a leading producer of fine press books. Conceived as a revival of the craftsmanship of the pre-industrial age, the Doves Press Bible is considered the firm's finest publication, combining exquisite typography and clarity of design. Bridwell Library Special Collections holds two complete sets of the Doves Press Bible printed on paper in addition to this incomplete set, and one of only two sets ever printed on vellum. The vellum set was once owned by Emery Walker, and is bound by Katharine Adams.


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