Narrative card: Don't Judge a Book by its Cover Introduction


Narrative card: Don't Judge a Book by its Cover Introduction


Book cover art is as old as books themselves and the golden age of cover art flourished in the late nineteenth century. Designers were sourced from a variety of professions, including painters, illustrators, and other visual artists.
Book covers created in the last century were designed to grab the attention of potential readers. Advances in technology and production techniques lead to innovations in cover art design and greater access to books as art objects for ordinary collectors. One flashy color commonly found in books bound in the nineteenth century is known as Scheele’s Green, Paris Green, or Emerald Green. These vibrant covers were not only beautiful, but they also contained poisonous compounds, such as arsenic. An example of Scheele’s Green is featured on the information and title cards in this exhibit.
Cover art design has changed over the decades following trends in visual art and design and changes in societal norms.
This exhibit examines the aesthetic trends of cover art on books selected from Special Collections non-circulating book collection.


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“Narrative card: Don't Judge a Book by its Cover Introduction,” Thomas G. Carpenter Library Digital Exhibits, accessed February 1, 2023,