Another fascinating guest post from Mark Godburn
A copy of Strabonis de Situ Orbis Libri XVII (Lyon: Gabriel Coterius, 1559) has come to light in a contemporary dust-jacket. The book is bound in limp vellum with quasi-yapp edges and remnants of fore-edge ties. The jacket is made from a scrap of vellum with handwriting on it, and is reinforced on the underside with other manuscript scrap. The jacket has French flaps and four small slits in the corners which correspond to the position of the fore-edge ties, presumably so the ties could be threaded through. The jacket and binding appear contemporary to each other and to the sheets.
Years ago, I saw another vellum book with a vellum jacket from the 1700s, and there are surviving homemade and lending-library jackets from the 1700s. There also are German bindery jackets from the late 1700s and early 1800s made with printed scrap under outer paper, similar to the construction of the 1559 jacket. But I have never seen a verified jacket of any origin within 200 years of this one. Has anyone?
Whether the 1559 jacket was homemade or produced by the binder, it does show that dust-jackets were known by the 1500s.
Mark Godburn – Norfolk, Connecticut – USA