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Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library
121 Wall Street
New Haven, CT
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Endpapers are slipped between a book’s binding and text block and are easy to overlook. They developed from the practical need to protect illuminations from the wear of hardwood boards that served for the covers of medieval books. Early endpapers were made from materials that binders had at hand, such as manuscript waste or blank sheets of parchment. Over the centuries book binders and publishers began to use marbled and decorated papers for artistic effect and later putting advertisements, elaborate designs, genealogies, and landscapes on endpapers. The Beinecke exhibition “Under the Covers” traces the development of endpapers from their beginnings through the 21st century and showcases a striking variety of styles, from silken and marbled endpapers to Dutch gilt and “Images Populaires” designs.