Cathleen A. Baker, Maria Fredericks, Frank Trujillo, and Roger S. Wieck
In celebration of the long delayed publication of Theodore Petersen’s Coptic Bookbindings in the Pierpont Morgan Library, join the book’s editor and Drue Heinz Book Conservator Frank Trujillo, publisher Cathleen A. Baker of The Legacy Press, and Roger S. Wieck, Melvin R. Seiden Curator and Head of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts, in a presentation moderated and introduced by Maria Fredericks, Sherman Fairchild Head of Conservation, as they discuss the history of the bindings collection, Petersen’s seminal study, and the long and winding road to its publication.
Beginning in 1929, and with the encouragement of the Morgan’s director Belle da Costa Greene, Father Petersen initiated a study of the Morgan’s collection of over fifty 9th- and 10th-century Coptic bookbindings that were acquired in 1911 by J. Pierpont Morgan. Although not a bookbinder by training, Petersen meticulously documented the early binding structures and created elaborate and accurate drawings of their decoration. He continued his study, adding related bindings from additional worldwide collections, until 1951, when his monograph was originally slated for publication. The publication was delayed, then shelved, and, since 1951, the study has remained in photocopy form, passed hand to hand among bookbinders and binding historians. The new publication revives Petersen’s important contribution to binding scholarship, recounts the myriad persons and personalities involved in the project, and adds full color digital reproductions of the bindings, finally bringing Petersen’s research to the public.
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