Behind the Stacks: literally

plough marks

Freshly hewn blocks of wood? Or roughly ploughed fore-edges of the collected works of Christian Scriver from among Burke Library’s rare books?

Sometimes the most interesting views are not the front of bookshelves with all the book spines facing outward, but rather the back, where you can find various edge decorations, hardware, and conditions that make for a visual treat. I often find these during shelf maintenance tasks that involve removing a range of books from a shelf, thereby revealing the backside of another shelf. Literally from behind the stacks, here are some choice reverse views of Burke’s special collections shelves:

marbled edges

Some classic marbled edges

tartan pattern edge

A simple tartan pattern for edge decoration


A solitary tube

Green ribbons

book closures

Book and box closures, old and new

blue edges

Blue colored edges (with neighboring green)

gauffered edges

Gauffered edges

tidy shelf

Protective enclosures are good for the books and make it easy to keep a tidy shelf… but they do hinder chance discoveries of other interesting reverse views!

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