Thursday, October 29, 2009

Book Corner Protectors

Book corner protectors are a rare find. Today I am showing two different ones.

The first I took off a Wanamaker published book. This book was published as part of the Wanamaker's Young People's Library and was published in the 1902-1910 era.

The second book corner protector is the more interesting. It is from an unknown Lee and Shepard book. Thus it was produced before 1905. It looks to me like it was hand stamped. What I mean is that Lee and Shepard probably bought blank protectors and then stamped them individually. On the Lee and Shepard item there is a line that says Pat Mar 26,1895 Worchester, Mass. Therefore the production of this item is narrowed down to the years between 1895-1905.

What intrigues me more about these items is when they were used. Clearly the corner protectors are too cumbersome to have been used with jacketed or boxed books. This must mean that some books that came from the publisher did not have jackets (or boxes). This is contrary to my conjecture that all books of this era originally were boxed or had dust jackets. Indeed there must have been a subset that came with the book corner protectors only.
Hopefully we can learn more about these items and see more examples as time goes on.


  1. Excellent tip Treez - office workers should be able to get their hands on loads of used envelopes for the purpose. Like you say you probably wouldn't do it for every book but if the book you are sending is in excellent/like new condition it would be a good way of keeping it that way.

  2. As the name of the company implies, it appears that these were used when books were mailed or sent by express as noted in this book:

    Here is an ad in Publishers' Weekly from 1903.

    It appears that even the U.S. government used book corners, though from another company:

    Those corners appear to be metal covered with paper according to the ad in this 1889 directory:

    Of course as collectors we are well accustomed to seeing bumped corners on books so some of these make sense to protect books of constant use, especially the semi-permanent and sometimes decorative metal ones.

    Ideal Book Mailing Corner Co. of Worcester, MA boasted that "no order too small" and "no order too large". As with most printing jobs, the nature of the printing on the items would depend on the size of the order. Smaller orders might get a rubber stamp while larger ones could merit using a print run on a platen jobber press.

    James Keeline