Online Encyclopedia

BOOKCASE

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V04, Page 226 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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BOOKCASE, an article of furniture, forming a shelved receptacle, usually perpendicular or horizontal, for the storage of books. When books, being written by hand, were excessivelyscarce,they were kept in small coffers which the great carried about with them on their journeys. As manuscript volumes accumulated in the religious houses or in regal palaces, they were stored upon shelves or in cupboards, and it is from these cupboards that the bookcase of to-day directly descends. At a somewhat later date the doors were, for convenience' sake, discarded, and the evolution of the bookcase made one step forward. Even then, however, the volumes were not arranged in the modern fashion. They were either placed in piles apon their sides, or if upright, were ranged with their backs to the wall and their edges outwards. The band of leather, vellum or parchment which closed the book was often used for the inscription of the title, which was thus on the fore-edge instead of on the back. It was not until the invention of printing had greatly cheapened books that it became the practice to write the title on the back and place the edges inwards. Early bookcases were usually of oak, which is still deemed to be the most appropriate wood for a stately library. The oldest bookcases in England are those in the Bodleian library at Oxford, which were placed in position in the last year or two of the 16th century; in that library are the earliest extant examples of shelved galleries over the flat wall-cases. Long ranges of book-shelves are necessarily somewhat severe in appearance, and many attempts have been made by means of carved cornices and pilasters to give them a more riant appearance—attempts which were never so successful as in the hands of the great English cabinet-makers of the second 'half of the 18th century. Both Chippendale and Sheraton made or designed great numbers of bookcases, mostly glazed with little lozenges encased in fret-work frames often of great charm and elegance. The alluring grace of some of Sheraton's satinwood bookcases has very rarely indeed been equalled. The French cabinet-makers of the same period were also highly successful with small ornamental cases. Mahogany, rosewood, satinwood and even choicer exotic timbers were used; they were often inlaid with marqueterie and mounted with chased and gilded bronze. Dwarf bookcases were frequently finished with a slab of choice marble at the top. In the great public libraries of the loth century the bookcases are often of iron, as in the British Museum where the shelves are covered with cowhide, of steel, as in the library of Congress at Washington, or of slate, as in the Fitzwilliam library at Cambridge. There are three systems of arranging bookcases—flat against the wall; in " stacks " or ranges parallel to each other with merely enough space between to allow of the passage of a librarian; or in bays or alcoves where cases jut out into the room at right angles to the wall-cases. The stack system is suitable only for public libraries where economy of space is essential; the bay system is not only hand-some but utilizes the space to great advantage. The library of the city of London at the Guildhall is a peculiarly effective example of the bay arrangement. The whole question of the construction and arrangement of book-cases was learnedly discussed in the light of experience by W. E. Gladstone in the Nineteenth Century for March 1890. (J. P.-B.) BOOK-COLLECTING, the bringing together of books which in their contents, their form or the history of the individual copy possess some element of permanent interest, and either actually or prospectively are rare, in the sense of being difficult to procure. This qualification of rarity, which figures much too largely in the popular view of book-collecting, is entirely sub-ordinate to that of interest, for the rarity of a book devoid of interest is a matter of no concern. On the other hand so long as a book (or anything else) is and appears likely to continue to be easilyprocurable at any moment, no one has any reason for collecting it. The anticipation that it will always be easily procurable is often unfounded; but so long as the anticipation exists it restrains collecting, with the result that Horn-books are much rarer than First Folio Shakespeares. It has even been laid down that the ultimate rarity of books varies in the inverse ratio of the number of copies originally printed, and though the generalization is a little sweeping, it is not far from the truth. To triumph over small difficulties being the chief element in games of skill, the different varieties of book-collecting, which offer almost as many varieties of grades of difficulty, make excellent hobbies. But in its essence the pastime of a book-collector is identical with the official work of the curator of a museum, and thus also with one branch of the duties of the librarian of any library of respectable age. In its inception every library is a literary workshop, with more or less of a garden or recreation ground attached according as its managers are influenced by the humanities or by a narrow conception of utility. As the library grows, the books and editions which have been the tools of one generation pass out of use; and it becomes largely a depository or storehouse of a stock much of which is dead. But from out of this seemingly dead stock preserved at haphazard, critics and antiquaries gradually pick out books which they find to be still alive. Of some of these the interest cannot be reproduced in its entirety by any mere reprint, and it is this salvage which forms the literary museum. Book-collectors are privileged to leap at once to this stage in their relations with books, using the dealers' shops and catalogues as depositories from which to pick the books which will best fit with the aim or central idea of their collection. For in the modern private collection, as in the modern museum, the need for a central idea must be fully recognized. Neither the collector nor the curator can be content to keep a mere curiosity-shop. It is the collector's business to illustrate his central idea by his choice of examples, by the care with which he describes them and the skill with which they are arranged. In all these matters many amateurs rival, if they do not outstrip, the professional curators and librarians, and not seldom their collections are made with a view to their ultimate transference to public ownership. In any case'it is by the zeal of collectors that books which otherwise would have perished from neglect are discovered, cared for and preserved, and those who achieve these results certainly deserve well of the community. Whenever a high degree of civilization has been attained book-lovers have multiplied, and to the student with his modest desire to read his favourite author in a well-written or well-printed copy there has been added a class of owners suspected of caring more for the externals of books than for the enjoyment to be obtained by reading them. But although adumbrations of it existed under the Roman empire and towards the end of the middle ages, book-collecting, as it is now under- stood, is essentially of modern growth. A glance through what must be regarded as the medieval text-book on the love of books, the Plzilobiblon, attributed to Richard de Bury (written in 1345), shows that it deals almost exclusively with the delights of litera- ture, and Sebastian Brant's attack on the book-fool, written a century and a half later, demonstrates nothing more than that the possession of books is a poor substitute for learning. This is so obviously true that before book-collecting in the modern sense can begin it is essential that there should be no lack of books to read, just as until cups and saucers became plentiful there was no room for the collector of old china. Even when the invention of printing had reduced the cost of books by some 8o %, book-collectors did not immediately appear. There is a natural temptation to imagine that the early book-owners, whose libraries have enriched modern collectors with some of their best-known treasures, must necessarily have been collectors themselves. This is far from being the case. Hardly a book of all that Jean Grolier (1479–1565) caused to be bound so taste- fully for himself and his friends reveals any antiquarian instincts in its liberal owner, who bought partly to encourage the best printers of his day, partly to provide his friends with the most recent fruits of Renaissance scholarship. In England Arch- bishop Cranmer, Lords Arundel and Lumley, and Henry, prince of Wales (1594-1612), in France the famous historian Jacques Auguste de Thou (1553-1617), brought together the best books of their day in all departments of learned literature, put them into handsome leather jackets, and enriched them with their coats of arms, heraldic badges or other marks of possession. But they brought their books together for use and study, to be read by themselves and by the scholars who frequented their houses, and no evidence has been produced that they appreciated what a collector might how call the points of a book other than its fine condition and literary or informational merits. Again, not a few other more or less famous men have been dubbed col-lectors on the score of a scanty shelf-full of volumes known to have been stamped with their arms. Collecting, as distinct both from the formation of working libraries and from casual ownership of this latter kind, may perhaps be said to have begun in England at the time of the antiquarian reaction produced by the book-massacres when the monasteries were dissolved by Henry VIII., and the university and college libraries and the parish service books were plundered and stript by the commissioners of Edward VI. To rescue good books from perishing is one of the main objects of book-collecting, and when Archbishop Parker and Sir Robert Cotton set to work to gather what they could of the scattered records of English statecraft and literature, and of the decorative art bestowed so lavishly on the books of public and private devotion, they were book-collectors in a sense and on a scale to which few of their modern imitators can pretend. Men of more slender purses, and armed with none of Archbishop Parker's special powers, worked according to their ability on similar lines. Humphrey Dyson, an Elizabethan notary, who collected contemporary proclamations and books from the early English presses, and George Thomason (d. 1666), the bookseller who bought, stored and catalogued all the pamphlet literature of the Civil War, were mindful of the future historians of the days in which they lived. By the end of the 17th century book-collecting was in full swing all over Europe, and much of its apparatus had come into existence. In 1676 book auctions were introduced into England from Holland, and soon we can trace in priced catalogues the beginning of a taste for Caxtons, and the books prized by collectors slowly fought their way up from amid the heavy volumes of theology by which they were at first overwhelmed. While book-collecting thus came into existence it was rather as an added grace in the formation of a fine library than as a separate pursuit. Almost all the large book-buyers of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries bought with a public object, or were rewarded for their zeal by their treasures being thought worthy of a public resting-place. Sir Thomas Smith (d.1577) bequeathed his books to Queens' College, Cambridge; Archbishop Parker's were left under severe restrictions to Corpus Christi College in the same university; Sir Thomas Bodley refounded during his lifetime the university library at Oxford, to which also Laud gave liberally and Selden bequeathed his books. The library of Archbishop Williams went to St John's College, Cambridge; that of Archbishop Usher was bought for Trinity College, Dublin. The mathematical and scientific books of Thomas Howard, earl of Norfolk (d. 1646), were given by his grandson to the Royal Society; the heraldic collections of Ralph Sheldon (d. 1684) to Heralds' College; the library in which Pepys took so much pleasure to Magdalene College, Cambridge. Bishop Moore'sbooks, including a little volume of Caxton quartos, almost all unique, were bought by George I. and presented to the university library at Cambridge. Archbishop Marsh, who had previously bought Stillingfleet's printed books (his manuscripts went to Oxford), founded a library at Dublin. The immense accumulations of Thomas Rawlinson (d. 1725) provided materials for a series of auctions, and Harley's printed books were sold to Osbourne the bookseller. But the trend was all towards public ownership While Richard Rawlinson (d. 1755) allowed his brother's hooks to be sold, the best of his own were bequeathed to Oxford, and the Harleian MSS. were offered to the nation at a sum far below their value. A similar offer of the great collections formed by Sir Hans Sloane, including some 50,000 printed books, together with the need for taking better care of what remained of the Cotton manuscripts, vested in trustees for public use in 1702 and partially destroyed by fire in 1731, led to the foundation of the British Museum in 1753, and this on its opening in 1757 was almost immediately enriched by George II.'s gift of the old royal library, formed by the kings and queens of England from Henry VII. to Charles II., and by Henry, prince of Wales, son of James I., who had bought the books belonging to Archbishop Cranmer and Lords Arundel and Lumley. A few notable book- History. buyers could not afford to bequeath their treasures to libraries, e.g. Richard Smith, the secondary of the Poultry Compter (d. 1675), at whose book-sale (1682) a dozen Caxtons sold for from 2S. to 18s. apiece, Dr Francis Bernard (d. 1698), Narcissus Luttrell(d. 1732) and Dr Richard Mead (d. 1754). At the opposite end of the scale, in the earls of Sunderland (d. 1722) and Pembroke (d. 1733), we have early examples of the attempts, seldom successful, of book-loving peers to make their libraries into permanent heirlooms. But as has been said, the drift up to 176o was all towards public ownership, and the libraries were for the most part general in character, though the interest in typo-graphical antiquities was already well marked. When George III. came to the throne he found himself book-less, and the magnificent library of over 8o,000 books and pamphlets and 440 manuscripts which he accumulated shows on a large scale the catholic and literary spirit of the book-lovers of his day. As befitted the library of an English king it was rich in English classics as well as in those of Greece and Rome, and the typo-graphical first-fruits of Mainz, Rome and Venice were balanced by numerous works from the first presses of Westminster, London and Oxford. This noble library passed in 1823 to the British Museum, which had already received the much smaller but care-fully chosen collection of the Rev. C. M. Cracherode (d. 1799), and in 1846 was further enriched by the wonderful library formed by Thomas Grenville, thelastof itsgreatbook-loving benefactors, who died in that year, aged ninety-one. A few less wealthy men had kept up the old public-spirited tradition during George III.'s reign, Garrick bequeathing his fine collection of English plays and Sir Joseph Banks his natural history books to the British Museum, while Capell's Shakespearian treasures enriched Trinity College, Cambridge, and those of Malone went to the Bodleian library at Oxford, the formation of these special collections, in place of the large general library with a sprinkling of rarities, being in itself worth noting. But the noble book-buyers celebrated by the Rev. Thomas Frognall Dibdin in his numerous bibliographical works kept mainly on the old lines, though with aims less patriotic than their predecessors. The duke of Roxburghe's books were sold in 1812, and the excitement produced by the auction, more especially by the competition between Lord Spencer and the duke of Marlborough (at that time margttess of Blandford) for an edition of Boccaccio printed by Valdarfer at Venice in 1471, led to the formation of the Roxburghe Club at a commemorative dinner. In 1819 the duke of Marlborough's books were sold, and the Boccaccio for which he had paid £2260 went to Earl Spencer (d. 1834) for £750, to pass with the rest of his rare books to Mrs Rylands in 1892, and by her gift to the John Rylands library at Manchester in 1899. The books of Sir M. M. Sykes were sold in 1824, those of J. B. Inglis in 1826 (after which he collected again) and those of George Hibbert in 1829. The 150,00ovolumes brought together by Richard Heber at an expense of about £roo,000 were disposed of by successive sales during the years 1834–1837 and realized not much more than half their cost. The wonderful library of William Beckford (d. 1844), especially rich in fine bindings, bequeathed to his daughter, the duchess of Hamilton, was sold in 1882, with the Hamilton manuscripts, for the most part to the German government. Their dispersal was preceded in 1881 by that of the Sunderland collection, already mentioned. The library of Brian Fairfax (d. 1749), which had passed to the earls of Jersey, was sold in 1885, that of Sir John Thorold (d. 1815) in 1884, his " Gutenberg " Bible fetching £39o0 and his Mainz Psalter £4950. The great collection of manuscripts formed by Sir Thomas Phillipps (d. 1872) has furnished materials for numerous sales. The printed books of the earl of Ashburnham (d. 1878) kept the auctioneers busy in 1897 and 1898; his manuscripts were sold, some to the British government (the Stowe collection shared between the British Museum and Dublin), the German government (part of the Libri and Barrois collection, all, save one MS. of 13th century German ballads, resold to France), the Italian government (the rest of the Libri collection) Mr Yates Thompson (the MSS. known as the Appendix) and Mr J. Pierpont Morgan (the Lindau Gospels). The collections formed by Mr W, H. Miller (d. 1848, mainly English poetry), theduke of Devonshire (d. 1858) and Mr Henry Huth (d. 1878), are still intact. Among the book-buyers of the reign of George III., John Ratcliffe, an ex-coal-merchant, and James West had devoted themselves specially to Caxtons (of which the former possessed 48 and the latter 34) and the products of other early English presses. The collections of Capell and Garrick were also small and homogeneous. Each section, moreover, of some of the great libraries that have just been enumerated might fairly be considered a collection in itself, the union of several collections in the same library being made possible by the wealth of their purchaser and the small prices fetched by most classes of books in comparison with those which are now paid. But perhaps the modern cabinet theory of book-collecting was first carried out with conspicuous skill by Henry Perkins (d. 1855), whose 865 fine manuscripts and specimens of early printing, when sold in 1870, realized nearly £26,000. If surrounded by a sufficient quantity of general literature the collection might not have seemed noticeably different from some of those already mentioned, but the growing cost of books, together with difficulties as to house-room, combined to discourage miscellaneous buying on a large scale, and what has been called the " cabinet " theory of collecting, so well carried out by Henry Perkins, became increasingly popular among book buyers, alike in France, England and the United States of America. Henri Beraldi, in his catalogue of his own collection (printed 1892), has described how in France a little band of book-loving amateurs grew up who laughed at the bibliophile de la vicille roche as they disrespectfully called their predecessors, and prided themselves on the unity and compactness of their own treasures. In place of the miscellaneous library in which every class of book claimed to be represented, and which needed a special room or gallery to house it, they aimed at small collections which should epitomize the owner's tastes and require nothing bulkier than a neat bookcase or cabinet to hold them. The French bibliophiles whom M. Beraldi celebrated applied this theory with great success to collecting the dainty French illustrated books of the 18th century which were their especial favourites. In England Richard Fisher treated his fine examples of early book-illustration as part of his collection of engravings,etchings and woodcuts(illustrated catalogue printed 1879), and Frederick Locker (Locker-Lampson) formed in two small bookcases such a gathering of first editions of English imaginative literature that the mere catalogue of it (printed in 1886) produced the effect of a stately and picturesque procession. Some of the book-hoards of previous generations could have spared the equivalent of the Locker collection without seeming noticeably the poorer, but the compactness and unity of this small collection, in which every book appears to have been bought for a special reason and to form an integral part of the whole, gave it an artistic individuality which was a pleasant triumph for its owner, and excited so much interest among American admirers of Mr Locker's poetry that it may be said to have set a fashion. As another example of the value of a small collection, both for delight and for historical and artistic study, mention may be made of the little roomful of manuscripts and incunabula which William Morris brought together to illustrate the history of the bookish arts in the middle ages before the Renaissance introduced new ideals. Many living collectors are working in a similar spirit, and as this spirit spreads the monotony of the old libraries, in which the same editions of the same books recurred with wearisome frequency, should be replaced by much greater individuality and variety. Moreover, if they can be grouped round some central idea cheap books may yield just as good sport to the collector as expensive ones, and the collector of quite modem. works may render admirable service to posterity. The only limitation is against books specially manufactured to attract him, or artificially made rare. A quite wholesome interest in contemporary first editions was brought to nought about 1889 by the booksellers beginning to hoard copies of Browning's Asolando and Mr Lang's Blue Fairy Book on the day of publication, while a graceful but quite minor poet was made ridiculous by boo being asked for a set of his privately printed opuscula. The petty gambling in books printed at the Kelmscott and Doves' presses, and in the fine paper copies of a certain Life of Queen Victoria, for which a premium of 250 % was asked before publication, is another proof that until the manufacturing stage is over collecting cannot safely begin. But with this exception the field is open, and the 19th century offers as good a hunting ground as any of its predecessors. While book-collecting may thus take an endless variety of forms the heads under which these may be grouped are few and fairly easily defined. They may be here briefly indicated together with some notes as to the literature which has grown up round them. The development which bibliographical literature has taken is indeed very significant of the changed ideals of collectors. Brunet's Manuel du libraire, first published in 181o, attained its fifth edition in 1860–1864, and has never since been re-edited (supplement, 1878–188o). The Bibliographer's Manual of English Literature by W. T. Lowndes, first published in 1834, was revised by H. G. Bohn in 1857–1864, and of this also no further edition has been printed. These two works between them gave all the information the old-fashioned collectors required, the Tresor de livres rares et precieux by J. G. T. Graesse (Dresden, 1859–1867, supplementary volume in 1869) adding little to the information given by Brunet. The day of the omnivorous collector being past, the place of these general manuals has been taken by more detailed bibliographies and handbooks on special books, and though new editions of both Lowndes and Brunet would be useful to librarians and booksellers no publisher has had the courage to produce them. To attract a collector a book must appeal to his eye, his mind or his imagination, and many famous books appeal to all three. A book may be beautiful by virtue of its binding, its illustrations or the simple perfection and harmony of its print and paper. The attraction of a fine binding has always been felt in France, the high prices quoted for Elzevirs and French first editions being often due much more to their 17th and 18th century jackets than to the books themselves. The appreciation of old bindings has greatly increased in England since the exhibition of them at the Burlington Fine Arts Club in 1891 (illustrated catalogue printed the same year), English blind stamped bindings, embroidered bindings, and bindings attributable to Samuel Mearne (temp. Charles II.) being much more sought after than formerly. (See BOOKBINDING.) Illustrated books of certain periods are also much in request, and with the exception of a few which early celebrity has pre-vented becoming rare have increased inordinately in price. The primitive woodcuts in incunabula are now almost too highly appreciated, and while the Nuremburg Chronicle (1493) seldom fetches more than £30 or the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili (Venice, 1499) more than £120, rarer books are priced in hundreds. The best books on the subject are: for Italy, Lippmann's Wood Engraving in Italy in the 15th Century (1888), Kristeller's Early Florentine Woodcuts (1897), the duc de Rivoli's (Prince d'Essling's) Bibliographie des livres a figures venitiens 1469–7525 (1892, new edition 1906); for Germany, Muther's Die deutsche Biicherillustration der Gothik and Friihrenaissance (1884); for Holland and Belgium, Sir W. M. Conway's The Woodcutters of the Netherlands in the 15th Century (1884); for France the material will all be found in Claudin's Histoire de l'imprimerie en France (1900, &c.). Some information on the illustrated books of the early 16th century is given in Butsch's Die Biicherornamentik der Renaissance (1878), but the pretty French books of the middle of the century and the later Dutch and English copper-engraved book illustrations (for the latter see Colvin's Early Engraving and Engravers inEngland, 1905) have been imperfectly appreciated. This?cannot be said of the French books of the 18th century chronicled by H. Cohen, Guide de l'amateur de livre d gravures du XVIIIP siecle (5th ed., 1886), much of the same information, with a little more about English books, being given in Lewine's Bibliography of Eighteenth Century Art and Illustrated Books (1898). English books with coloured illustrations, for which there has arisen a sudden fashion, are welldescribed in Martin Hardie's English Colour Books (1906). Bewick's work has been described by Mr Austin Dobson. Appreciation of finely printed books has seldom extended much beyond the 15th century. In addition to the works mentioned in the article on incunabula(q.v),note may be made of Humphrey's Masterpieces of the Early Printers and Engravers (187o), while Lippmann's Druckschriften des X V bis X VIII Jahrhunderts (1884–1887) covers, though not-very fully, the later period. Among books which make an intellectual appeal to the col-lectors may be classed all works of historical value which have not been reprinted, or of which the original editions are more authentic, or convincing, than modern reprints. It is evident that these cover a vast field, and that the collector in taking possession of any corner of it is at once the servant and rival of historical students. Lord Crawford's vast collections of English, Scottish and Irish proclamations and of papal bulls may be cited as capital instances of the work which a collector may do for the promotion of historical research, and the philological library brought together by Prince Lucien Bonaparte (An Attempt at a Catalogue by V. Collins, published 1894) and the Foxwell collection of early books on political economy (presented to the university of London by the Goldsmiths' Company) are two other instances of recent date. Much collecting of this kind is now being carried on by the libraries of institutes and societies connected with special professions and studies, but there is ample room also for private collectors to work on these lines. Of books which appeal to a collector's imagination the most obvious examples are those which can be associated with some famous person or event. A book which has belonged to a king or queen (more especially one who, like Mary queen of Scots, has appealed to popular sympathies), or to a great statesman, soldier or poet, which bears any mark of having been valued by him, or of being connected with any striking incident in his life, has an interest which defies analysis. Collectors themselves have a natural tenderness for their predecessors, and a copy of a famous work is all the more regarded if its pedigree can be traced through a long series of book-loving owners. Hence the production of such works as Great Book-Collectors by Charles and Mary Elton (1893), English Book-Collectors by W. Y. Fletcher (1902) and Guigard's Nouvel armorial du bibliophile (189o). Books condemned to be burnt, or which have caused the persecution of their authors, have an imaginative interest of another kind, though one which seems to have appealed more to writers of books than to collectors. As has already been noted, most of the books specially valued by collectors make a double or triple appeal to the collecting instinct, and the desire to possess first editions maybe accounted for partly by their positive superiority over reprints for purposes of study, partly by the associations which they can be proved to possess or which imagination creates for them. The value set on them is at least to some extent fanciful. It would be difficult, for instance, to justify the high prices paid by collectors of the days of George III. for the first printed editions of the Greek and Latin classics. With few exceptions these are of no value as texts, and there are no possible associations by which they can be linked with the personality of their authors. It may be doubted whether any one now collects them save as specimens of printing, though no class of books which has once been prized ever sinks back into absolute obscurity. On the other hand the prestige of the first editions of. English and French literary masterpieces has immensely increased. A first folio Shakespeare (1623) was in 1906 sold separately for £3000, and the MacGeorge copies of the first four folios (1623, 1632, 1663–1664 and 1685) fetched collectively the high price of £10,000. The quarto editions of Shakespeare plays have appreciated even more, several of these little books, once sold at 6d. apiece, having fetched over £I000, while the unknown and unique copy of the 1594 edition of Titus Andronicus, discovered in Sweden, speedily passed to an American collector for £2000. Information as to early editions of famous English books will be found in Lowndes' Bibliographer's Manual, in Hazlitt's Handbook to the PopularPoetical and Dramatic Literature of Great Britain from the Invention of Printing to the Restoration Objects and methods. (1867) and his subsequent Collections and Notes (1876-1903), and as to more recent books in Slater's Early Editions, a bibliographical survey of the works of some popular modern authors (1894), while French classics have found an excellent chronicler in Jules Le Petit (Bibliographic des principales editions originales d'ecrivains francais du X Ve an X VIII e siecle, 1888). In most cases there is a marked falling off in the interest with which early editions other than the first are regarded, and consequently in the prices paid for them, though important changes in the text give to the edition in which they first occur some shadow of the prestige attaching to an original issue. One of the recognized byways of book-collecting, however, used to be the collection of as many editions as possible of the same work. When this result in the acquisition of numerous late editions of no value for the text its only usefulness would appear to be the index it may offer to the author's popularity. But in translations of the Bible, inliturgical works, and ineditionspublished during the author's life the aid offered to the study of the development of the final text by a long row of intermediate editions may be very great. Another instance in which imagination reinforces the more positive interest a book may possess is in the case of editions which can be connected with the origin, diffusion or development of printing. Piety suggests that book-lovers should take a special interest in the history of the art which has done so much for their happiness, and in this respect they have mostly shown themselves religious. The first book printed in any town is reasonably coveted by local antiquaries, and the desire to measure the amount and quality of the work of every early printer has caused the preservation of thousands of books which would otherwise have perished. (See INCUNABULA.) The financial side of book-collecting may be studied in Slater's Book-Prices Current, published annually since 1887, and in Livingston's American Book Prices Current, and in the same author's Auction Prices of Books (1905). While largely influenced by fashion the prices given for books are never wholly unreason-able. They are determined, firstly by the positive or associative interest which can be found in the book itself, secondly by the infrequency with which copies come into the market compared with the number and wealth of their would-be possessors, and thirdly, except in the case of books of the greatest interest and rarity, by the condition of the copy offered in respect to completeness, size, freshness and absence of stains. (A. W. Po.) BOOK-KEEPING, a systematic record of business transactions, in a form conveniently available for reference, made by individuals or corporations engaged in commercial or financial operations with a view to enabling them with the minimum amount of trouble and of dislocation to the business itself to ascertain at any time (1) the detailed particulars of the transactions under-taken, and (2) the cumulative effect upon the business and its financial relations to others. Book-keeping, sometimes described as a science and sometimes as an art, partakes of the nature of both. It is not so much a discovery as a growth, the crude methods of former days having been gradually improved to meet the changing requirements of business, and this process of evolution is still going on. The ideal of any system of book-keeping is the maximum of record combined with the minimum of labour, but as dishonesty has to be guarded against, no system of book-keeping can be regarded as adequate which does not enable the record to be readily verified as a true and complete statement of the transactions involved. Such a verification is called an audit, and in the case of public and other large concerns is ordinarily undertaken by professional accountants (q.v.). Where the book-keeping staff is large it is usually organized so that its members, to some extent at least, check each other's work, and to that extent an audit, known as a "staff audit" or " internal check," is frequently performed by the book-keeping staff itself. Formerly, when credit was a considerably less important factor than now in commercial transactions, book-keeping was frequently limited to an account of receipts and payments of money; and in early times, before money was in use,to an account of the receipt and issue of goods of different kinds. Even nowwhat may be called the " cash'system " of accounts is almost exclusively used by governments, local authorities, and charitable and other institutions; but in business it is equally necessary to record movements of credit, as a mere statement of receipts and payments of money would show only a part of the total number of transactions undertaken. As for practical purposes some limit must be placed upon the daily record of transactions, certain classes show only a record of cash receipts and payments, which must, when it is desired to ascertain the actual position of affairs, be adjusted by bringing into account those transactions which have not yet been completed by the receipt or payment of money. For instance, it is usual to charge customers with goods sold to them at the date when the sale takes place, and to give them credit for the amount received in payment upon the date of receipt (thus completely recording every phase of the transaction as and when it occurs); but in connexion (say) with wages it is not usual to give each workman credit for the services rendered by him from day to day, but merely to charge up the amounts, when paid, to a wages account, which thus at any date only shows the amounts which have actually been paid, and takes no cognisance of the sums accruing due. When, therefore, it is desired to ascertain the actual expenditure upon wages for any given period, it is necessary to allow for the payments made during that period in respect of work previously performed, and to add the value of work performed during the current period which remains unpaid. In the majority of businesses those accounts which deal with various forms of standing expenses are thus dealt with, and in consequence the record, as it appears from day to day, is pro lotto incomplete. Another very important series of transactions which is not included in the ordinary day-to-day record is that representing the loss gradually accruing by reason of waste, or depreciation, of assets or general equipment of the business; proper allowance for these losses must of course be made whenever it is desired to ascertain the true position of affairs. The origin of book-keeping is lost in obscurity, but recent researches would appear to show that some method of keeping accounts has existed from the remotest times. Baby- History. Ionian records have been found dating back as far as 2600 B.C., written with a stylus on small slabs of clay, and it is of interest to note (Records of the Past, xi. 89) that these slabs or tablets " usually contain impressions from cylinder seals, and nail marks, which were considered to be a man's natural seal," thus showing that the modern method of identifying criminals by finger prints had its counterpart in Babylonia some 4500 years ago. Egyptian records were commonly written on papyrus, and contemporary pictures show a scribe keeping account of the quantities of grain brought into and removed from the government store-houses. It will thus be seen that some form of book-keeping existed long before bound books were known, and therefore the more general term accounting would seem to be preferable—the more so as the most modern developments are in the direction of again abandoning the bound book in favour of loose or easily detached sheets of paper or card, thus capable of being rearranged as circumstances or convenience may dictate. Most of the earlier accounting records are in the nature of a mere narrative of events, which—however complete in itself—failed to fulfil the second requirement of an adequate system of book-keeping already referred to. Prior to the use of money nothing in this direction could of course well be at-tempted; but for a long time after its employment became general money values were recorded in Roman figures, which naturally did not lend themselves to ready calculation. At the present time it may be generally stated that all book-keeping records are kept in three distinct columns, dealing respectively with the date of the transaction, its nature, and its money value. The earliest extant example of accounts so kept is probably a ledger in the Advocates' library at Edinburgh, dated 1697, which, it is of interest to note, is ruled by hand. Prior to that time, however, double-entry book-keeping had been in general use. The exact date of its introduction is unknown; but it was certainly not. as has been frequently stated, the Iv. $ invention of Lucas de Bergo, in or about 1494. This, however, is the date of the first issue (at Venice) of a printed book entitled Everything about Arithmetic, Geometry and Proportion, by Luca Paciolo, which contains inter ilia an explanation of book-keeping by double-entry as then understood; but in all probability, the system had then been in use for something like 200 years. It is perhaps unfortunate that from 1494 until comparatively recent times the literature of accounting has been provided by theorists and students, rather than by practical business men, and it may well be doubted, therefore, whether it accurately describes contemporary procedure. Another illusion which it is necessary to expose in the interests of truth is the value attached to Jones's English System of Book-keeping by Single or Double Entry, published at Bristol in 1796. Before publishing this book, E. T. Jones issued a prospectus, stating that he had patented an entirely new and greatly improved system, and that subscribers (at a guinea a copy) would be entitled to a special licence empowering them to put the new invention into practice in their own book-keeping. With this bait he secured thousands of subscribers, but so far as can be gathered his system was entirely without merit, and it is chiefly of interest as indicating the value, even then, of advertising. It is impossible here to describe fully all the improvements that have been made in methods of accounting during recent years, but it is proposed to deal with the more important modern methods. of these improvements, after the general principles upon which all systems of book-keeping are based have been briefly described. The centre of all book-keeping systems is the ledger, and it may be said that all other books are only kept as a matter of practical convenience—hence the name " subsidiary books " that is frequently applied thereto. Inasmuch, however, as the transactions are first recorded in these subsidiary books, and afterwards classified therefrom into the ledger, the names books of entry or books of first entry are often employed. Subsidiary books which do not form the basis of subsequent entries into the ledger, but are merely used for statistical purposes, are known as statistical or auxiliary books. In the early days of book-keeping the ledger comprised merely those accounts which it was thought desirable to keep accessible, and was not a complete record of all transactions. Thus in many instances records were only kept of transactions with other business houses, known as personal accounts. In the earliest examples transactions tending to reduce indebtedness were recorded in order of date, as they occurred underneath transactions recording the creation of the indebtedness; and the amount of the reduction was subtracted from the sum of the indebtedness up to that date. This method was found to be inconvenient, and the next step was to keep one account of the transactions recording the creation of indebtedness and another account (called the contra account) of those transactions reducing or extinguishing it. For convenience these two accounts were kept on opposite sides of the ledger, and thus was evolved the Dr. and Cr. account as at present in general use: Dr. A.B. Contra. Cr. £ s. d. £ s. d. In this form of account all transactions creating indebtedness due from the person named therein to the business—that is to say, all benefits received by that person from the business—are recorded upon the left-hand, or Dr. side, and per contra all transactions representing benefits imparted by him, giving rise to a liability on the part of the business, are recorded upon the Cr. side. The account may run on indefinitely,but as a matter of convenience is usually ruled off each time all indebtedness is extinguished, and also at certain periodical intervals, so that the state of the account may then be readily apparent. A mere collection of personal accounts is, however, obviously a very incomplete record of the transactions of any business, and does not suffice to enable a statement of its financial position to be prepared. So at an early date other accounts were added to the ledger, recording the acquisition of and disposal of different classes of property, such accounts being generally known as real accounts. These accounts are kept upon the same principle as personal accounts, in that all expenditure upon the part of the business is recorded upon the Dr. side, and all receipts upon the Cr. side; the excess of the debit entries over the credit entries thus showing the value placed upon those assets that still remain the property of the business. With the aid of personal and real accounts properly written up to date, it is possible at any time to prepare a statement of assets and liabilities showing the financial position of a business, and the following is an example of such a statement, which shows also how the profit made by the business may be thus ascertained, assuming that the financial position at the commencement of the current financial period, and the movements of capital into and out of the business during the period, are capable of being ascertained. The method of accounting hitherto described represents single-entry, which—albeit manifestly incomplete—is still very generally used by small business houses, and particularly by retail traders. Its essential weakness is that it provides no automatic check upon the clerical accuracy of the record, and, should any mistake be made in the keeping of the books, or in the extraction therefrom of the lists of assets and liabilities, the statement of assets and liabilities and the profit or loss of the current financial period, will be incorrect to an equal extent. It was to avoid this obvious weakness of single-entry that the system of double-entry was evolved. The essential principle of double-entry is that it constitutes a complete record of every business transaction, and as these transactions are invariably cross-dealings—involving simultaneously the receipt of a benefit by some one acrd the imparting of a benefit by some one—a complete record of transactions from both points of view necessitates an entry of equal amount upon debit and credit sides of the ledger. Hence it follows that, if the clerical work be correctly performed, the aggregate amount entered up upon the debit side of the ledger must at all times equal the aggregate amount entered up upon the credit side; and thus a complete list of all ledger balances will show an agreement of the total debit balances with the total credit balances. Such a list is called a trial balance, an example of which is given below. It should be observed, however, that the test supplied by the trial balance is a purely mechanical one, and does not prove the absolute accuracy of the ledger as Date. Narrative. Amount. Date. Narrative. Amount. Slagle-entry accounts.
End of Article: BOOKCASE
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