German bindings from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries survive today in large numbers, in part because they remained in undisturbed monastic libraries through many centuries. Additionally, German binders used long-lasting materials. Sewing on cords has proven more durable than sewing on thongs, a more common support material in England and Italy. And many German bindings have the advantage of the lasting qualities inherent in tawed pigskin, favored as a covering leather. German binders also continued to use wooden boards long after pasteboards had largely replaced them in other countries.
German, fifteenth century
A fifteenth-century binding of blind-tooled deerskin over wooden boards. The pink color results from a Kermes dye made from the dried bodies of insects.
Author: Nider, Johannes, ca. 1380-1438
Title: Sermones de tempore et de sanctis cum quadragesimali.
Published: Esslingen, Germany: Konrad Fyner, 1478/79.
Location: Scheide Library (WHS)
Call number: Scheide 9.4.11
Spine height: 32 cm

German, fifteenth century
An incunable in its contemporary binding of blind-stamped pigskin.
Author: Thomas, Aquinas, Saint, 1225?-1274
Title: [Commentaria in omnes Epistolas Sancti Pauli].
Published: Basel: Printed by Michael Furter for Wolfgang Lachner, 1495.
Location: Rare Books: Incunabula Collection (ExI)
Call number: Oversize 6049.89.326q
Spine height: 32 cm

German, sixteenth century
Calfskin over wooden boards with roll decoration.
Title: Regimen sanitatis Salernitanum.
Published: Frankfurt am Main: Heirs of Christian Egenhoff, 1582.
Location: Rare Books (Ex)
Call number: RA775 .xR4 1582
Spine height: 16 cm

German, sixteenth century
Tawed pigskin over beveled wooden boards with panel stamps and rolls.
Author: Euripides
Title: Euripidis tragoediæ octodecim.
Published: Basel: Johann Herwagen, 1551.
Location: Rare Books (Ex)
Call number: 2656.1551
Spine height: 20 cm

German, sixteenth century
In the sixteenth century, panel-portraits of the religious reformers, especially Luther and Melanchthon, were very common.
Title: [Konkordienbuch. Latin].
Published: Leipzig: Hans Steinmann, 1580.
Location: Rare Books (Ex)
Call number: 5646.604
Spine height: 21 cm

German, eighteenth century
In the eighteenth century German publishers issued books in case bindings covered with paper. These bindings have proven to be very durable, and the paper coverings, either marbled or paste decorated, came in a variety of colors and patterns.
Author: Weisse, Christian Felix, 1726-1804
Title: Lustspiele.
Published: Leipzig: Dykische Buchhandlung, 1783.
Location: Rare Books (Extran)
Call number: 3496.25.1783
Spine height: 18 cm

German, eighteenth century
Author: Amory, Thomas, 1691?-1788?
Title: Leben, Bermerkungen und Meinungen Johann Bunkels.
Published: Berlin: F. Nicolai, 1778.
Location: Rare Books (Ex)
Call number: 3606.9.37.8 v.2
Spine height: 17 cm