Skip navigation links (access key: Z)Library and Archives Canada / Bibliothèque et Archives CanadaSymbol of the Government of Canada
Français - Version française de cette pageHome - The main page of the Institution's WebsiteContact Us - Institutional contact informationHelp - Information about using the institutional WebsiteSearch - Search the institutional - Government of Canada Web site

Archived Content

This archived Web page remains online for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. This page will not be altered or updated. Web pages that are archived on the Internet are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats of this page on the Contact Us page.

Banner: Directory of Special Collections of Research Value in Canadian Libraries
Introduction SearchHelp

Cockerell Collection of Bookbindings
Dalhousie University, Killam Memorial Library

Bookbinding--Specimens; Bookbinding, Medieval; Bookbinding, Renaissance; Incunabula

The Cockerell Collection of bookbindings was assembled by Douglas Cockerell (1870-1945) between 1890 and 1935. To study the techniques used by early bookbinders, Cockerell purchased old bindings to examine closely. His binding collection was a working collection used for demonstrations in his teaching of conservation and bookbinding and many bindings were used to illustrate his important binding manual, Bookbinding and care of books (1901). In 1936 the binding collection was purchased by William Inglis Morse. He in turn donated the entire collection to Dalhousie University the following year.

Unlike most book collections, the content of the books in the Cockerell Collection was of secondary interest to the collector. Cockerell was interested in the materials used, the binding techniques employed, the binding style, the decorative features and how they were achieved, the emergence of national characteristics, and the evolution of the craft over time. The present Cockerell Collection consists of 126 bindings in 133 titles - 121 printed volumes, four manuscripts, and one blank book. All formats are represented but the majority are folio. The earliest dated volume is 1470 and the latest, 1826. The nationalities of the bindings are English, French, German, Italian, Dutch, Scottish, Swiss, Swedish, and Irish. Approximately two-thirds of the collection is bound in either red, brown, black, blue or green morocco. Other binding materials represented are: vellum, calfskin, pigskin, sheepskin, and fishskin. Most are full leather bindings, many with blind and/or gold tooling, silver clasps are common; a significant number bear the arms blocks of European royal families.


121 printed volumes, four manuscripts, and one blank book.

Bibliographic Access
All items are fully LC catalogued and accessible through the Libraries' online catalogue, Novanet. Novanet is available through the Dalhousie University Libraries' web page ( and telnet at:

Physical Access
For further information visit:

Interlibrary Loan: No.

Reprography: Photocopying is done by the staff as the condition of the material permits. Photography is done by the University Photography Services Department.

Reference Assistance: Yes.

Publications Describing Collection
Catalogue of 127 old bindings collected by Douglas Cockerell. (Letchworth,England:D.Cockerell,1936)