Through my study of one hundred and one bindings from the Shaw Collection, it became apparent that there is a clear connection between bookbinding scholarship and children’s literature scholarship. This project serves as a test case as to how to use the data I collected to analyze other bindings. The introduction of the double transaction into the conversation of bookbinding and children’s literature enhances the value of children’s books and points to their complexity. The dual audience of children’s books establishes children’s literature as complex because it must serve two different purposes to two different audiences. My research shows the different ways in which publishers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century used bookbindings to appeal to children and parents.
One exciting challenge of my digital humanities project was that I was not only conducting primary research on my bindings, but I was also learning how to use the software Omeka. When I have more expertise with Omeka I hope to be able to develop my website into a more comprehensive study of children’s bookbinding. For example, the creation of interactive maps and texts would heighten the experience of the user and would create more seamless interactions between the text and the images presented on the website. My thesis is a starting point for the future digital work I want to keep doing. Eventually, I would like to add more to my website and do the same work I did with the Shaw Collection but with other collections of children’s literature. I have found that creating a website to go along with my thesis has greatly benefitted my study because it opens up my audience to include people that are not familiar with my thesis project and want to learn more about bookbinding.
The claims made throughout my thesis point to the need for the unison of bookbinding scholarship and children’s literature scholarship. As I have shown, there is an increasing study of materials in terms of children’s literature but there continues to be a lack of explicit mentions to bookbinding; this became exceedingly evident through my research for secondary sources. I hope that this thesis has brought awareness to the disconnect between these scholarships and that there is more value given to bookbinding in terms of the way in which it represents the content of a book.
In the future, I hope to study more bindings outside of the Shaw Collection in order to expand my sample size. With the addition of more bindings to my sample size, I will be able to come to more conclusions and further legitimize the claims I have made. One of the ways in which I can diversify my data in the future is bringing in bindings from across the world instead of just from the United States and the United Kingdom; this would point to more trends seen in different areas of the globe that reflect the history and desires of different societies. This thesis is the beginning of what I hope to be more work in children’s bookbinding scholarship.