Monday, June 27, 2011

Decorated Publishers’ Bindings 1840 to 1930: Collections from the State Library of Massachusetts

The library is pleased to announce the opening of its new exhibit Decorated Publishers’ Bindings 1840 to 1930: Collections from the State Library of Massachusetts, on display June 27 through September 9, 2011 outside of the State Library, Room 341 of the State House.

Books were once the luxury of the wealthy, bound by hand in leather or silk to suit the individual. As the literate public and its appetite for books increased, publishers began to take on the task of binding, greatly reducing the need for independent bookbinders. The Industrial Revolution brought about several technological advances that turned the craft of hand bookbinding into a process that could produce books en masse. The invention of mechanical presses enabled the cloth bindings to be imprinted, stamped and gilded to resemble the fine bindings traditionally produced by hand.

Publishers’ bindings enjoyed popularity from 1830 to the end of the 1930s when they were replaced by decorative dust jackets. This exhibit explores the artistic development of publishers’ bindings, their styles and reflections upon the events of the time, with over seventy-five examples from the State Library of Massachusetts.

A digital version of the exhibit is available on the Library’s Flickr site. Click here to view the online exhibit.

For more information on the exhibition please contact the State Library’s Special Collections Department:

Special thanks to Ann-Katreen Hollon, Marissa Sorek, Krista Barresi, Kate Boutin, April Pierce and Angela White for their work on this exhibit.

- Lacy Stoneburner, Preservation Librarian

Friday, June 10, 2011

Brown Bag on the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation

"The Funding Of Public Sector Benefits in an Era Of Limited Means”

Join us for a Brown Bag Lunch
On TUESDAY, June 14th 2011
State Library of Massachusetts
Room 442 State House
12 until 1:30 PM

Bring your lunch and join us to hear Michael J. Widmer, President of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, speak about this prominent public policy organization. The MTF deals with state expenditures as they relate to such topics as health care, state government reform and capital spending among others. The State Library’s holdings include many materials published by the Foundation.
To register, RSVP to:
You may also let us know you will attend by calling the Reference Department at 617-727-2590 of e-mailing to

Sponsored by the Friends of the State Library

Future Brown Bags will include:

July 14th, 2011- Sean Murphy, reporter, Boston
Globe, professor, Suffolk University

August 11th, 2011, Dr. John Warner, Archivist of the
Commonwealth, The Massachusetts State Archives

September, 2011, Noah Berger, Massachusetts
Budget and Policy Center (date to be announced)

October, 2011, Celia Wcislo, The Commonwealth
Connector (date to be announced) The Connector is the
independent state agency charged with implementing elements
of the Massachusetts 2006 Health Care Reform Law

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Exhibit Preview

The library's summer exhibit opens June 27th and I am happy to give you a sneak peek into the exhibit. Decorated Publishers' Bindings 1840 to 1930: Collections from the State Library of Massachusetts is an exhibition exploring the artistic development of publishers' bindings, their styles and reflections upon the events of the time, with examples from our collections.

At left is one example from the exhibit, which will include over sixty books spanning ninety years of publishing history. The subjects of the books vary widely, including Boston and New England history, the arts, farming, industry, society and travel writing.

Can't wait for the exhibit to open? Check out the library's Flickr set of Decorated Bindings. This set has grown over time, but only six of the books were chosen to be included in the exhibit. Additional images from the summer exhibit will be added to the Flickr set after the exhibit opening. Can you guess which six made the cut?

Image: Adams, John Coleman. Nature Studies in Berkshire. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1899.

- Lacy Stoneburner, Preservation Librarian

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Inaugural and State of the State Addresses of the Governors of the Commonwealth- Treasures of the State Library for June, 2011

In the first year in office, the Governor of the Commonwealth delivers his or her Inaugural Address. Speeches given in a Governor's other years in office are called the "State of the State." These non-inaugural addresses have also been termed "Communication from His Excellency the Governor" or "Annual Message."

These special documents are all housed in the State Library. For the years before the legislature adopted a "two year session" (the first was 1995-1996) ,these were always found in the legislative documents of the Senate and were Senate bill number 1 of each year.

With the two year sessions, the Inaugural address is Senate 1 and the subsequent speeches by a Governor may have another Senate number.
The State Libary's collections include all petitions put forward in the legislature.

Pamela W. Schofield, State Library Reference