Book Bindings to Match Costumes
If prayer-books are bound to match costumes, why not other books? Here is a hint for the publishers. Your next big book—your next “Coniston” [the best-selling novel in the United States for 1906] or “Helena Richie,” or what not—why not try an experiment, and bind the first edition in several different colors, so that the “society woman” can have her fill of harmony? The word came to us from Newport recently, in the morning paper—always absolutely reliable—that on a Sunday certain “fashionable” women, names given in full, appeared at church, each carrying a prayer-book to match her costume. One was of lavender leather, corresponding with hat, dress and parasol; others were pink, or white, or black covered with heavy crape—to go with a mourning costume. Now, it is natural to assume that each woman possessed more than the one prayer-book that appeared on that particular Sunday. Otherwise, Miss So-and-So would have to wear that pink frock every time she went to church, if she had only the pink prayer-book. She must have needed to buy books of several different colors to match as many costumes—red, white and blue, not only; but black, yellow, green; purple perhaps—who knows?
Plainly, that must be profitable both to publisher and book-seller—to sell the same young woman ten or a dozen prayer-books instead of one.
Don’t you see, book-publisher? On the same principle, when you bring out that great novel, “The Fly-away and the Come-down,” she will require at least a half-dozen copies of it in different colors to harmonize with various gowns in hammock and yacht, on piazza and lawn, in drawing-room and beside the holiday fireplace.
Unless, of course, these “fashionable” society-leaders should have a secret agreement to pass around their prayer books and novels. If the young Woman can borrow a pink prayer-book to match her pink frock this Sunday, a white one for next Sunday, a green one for the Sunday after, and so on, she might not care to buy prayer-books in a bunch—or novels. either. Unthinkable. however; the generosity and large-mindedness of these leaders is against it—the same broadmindedness that appeared in arraying the prayer-book in pink and lavender. We all revere and love the humble prayer book, whatever our denominational affiliations: how much more when arrayed in gorgeous robes at the demand of great minds! ‘
With people of this progressive kind to deal with the book—publishers should feel warranted in undertaking almost any sort of a color venture. It’s yours; take the hint for whatever it is worth.
Carlos T. Chester
Book News: An Illustrated Magazine of Literature and Books, 1907: p. 100
Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: Mrs Daffodil has seen coloured bindings taken a step further, in illustrations of books arranged according to colour rather than content, something of which she strongly disapproves on the grounds that it gives trouble to colour-blind guests in search of something to read.
The prayer-book fad referred to above is referenced in this squib:
A Clever Woman
A lady of fine artistic taste has discovered that at church parade her prayer book, by its incongruous color, entirely ruined the effect of a carefully conceived costume. It struck a discord in an otherwise perfectly harmonious dress. This has been remedied by having a cover to her prayer book which shall be perfectly in accord with the leading tone of her garments. The prayer book cover will henceforth receive as attentive consideration as the bonnet, the gloves, and the sunshade, and no jarring note of color will be introduced by means of a volume bound in blue velvet or in scarlet morocco. London Graphic.
Goshen [IN] Democrat August 24, 1892: p. 6
There is, Mrs Daffodil is assured, a secret Cabal that meets to decide what colours will be the fashionable hues of the season; these colours then pervade dress, household goods, linens, and furnishings. While Mrs Daffodil notes that covers for the electronic book-readers are available in various colours and patterns, there seems to be no concerted effort to co-ordinate the covers with the wardrobe. With all of the wizardry available on “mobile phones” or “tablets,” Mrs Daffodil is surprised that there is not a “chameleon app” to customize the devices’ outward appearance automatically.
Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes
You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.