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Journals of Lewis and Clark

Christopher Swingley


[ opened to the middle ]

opened to the middle

I've been looking for a public domain book I've never read to print and bind, and decided on the Journals of Lewis and Clark, or History of the Expedition under the Command of Captains Lewis and Clark. To The Sources Of The Missouri, Thence Across The Rocky Mountains And Down The River Columbia To The Pacific Ocean. Performed During The Years 1804-5-6. It's the original two-volume History, originally published in 1814.

You can see how it turned out in the photographs. The spine is nice and flexible, strong, and it's easy to read. You can see how it's thrown up when the book is opened to the middle. The book has a nice solid feel, and I'm really happy with the way the typesetting and printing turned out. Most of the flaws have to do with covering the book; the labels and the hollow back. More on that in the last section.

Generating the signatures

[ chapter two ]

chapter two

For this book I'm using the Project Gutenberg text based on the 1814 expedition history prepared by Paul Allen and published by Bradford and Inskeep in New York. This edition is an abridged version of the original journals. Project Gutenberg also has a more complete set of the journals, but when I compared the two, I found the edited version to be much easier to read. The definitive edition is a 13 volume set published by the University of Nebraska Press and edited by Gary E. Moulton (called the "Nebraska Edition"). There's an on-line version of this edition, but I can't say I'm interested in doing a 13 volume set, and it would probably violate Copyright anyway.

I typeset the journal using pdfTeX on full size paper. The font is Adobe Garamond Premier Pro, 1.5 times larger than the default 11 point size. Then I used the 'psutils' utilities to reformat the pages into folios (2-up), with eight sheets (16 leaves, 32 pages) per signature. I wound up having to tweak the margins a bit. The general rule is that when the book is opened flat, the fore edge margins should equal the gutter between the text on the two pages. I decided to make the gutter a bit wider to make the book easier to read. In my journal project I found that the paper I'm using (Mowhawk Superfine) doesn't drape particularly well, so a wider gutter will reduce the stress on the spine.

Once I had all the formatting and layout done, I used the following commands to produce the PDF I had printed:

The end result is a 524 page book, printed on 136 sheets of short-grain Mohawk Superfine 28/70# paper.


[ spine ]


I used the same binding I've done for the two other books I've bound; sewing on tapes, zig zag endpapers, hollow back, library style binding with cloth covers. For this book I didn't use split covers, but pasted the flange to the underside of the book board, then covered the book with book cloth, and pasted the endpaper paste sheet onto the cover.

Since I don't have any of the finishing tools necessary for titling the spine or the cover I decided to experiment with gluing paper titles onto the cloth of the spine and front cover. For the spine, I cut the book cloth to size, marked the center of the cloth and glued the paper title onto the spine. I used PVA glue, hoping it would hold the paper onto the cloth better than paste. I pressed the book cloth for an hour and then wrapped the cloth around a cardboard tube, followed by a layer of waxed paper, held tightly with duct tape. This was to allow the paper to conform to the slightly curved shape of the spine. Once the cloth was pasted onto the book, I simply glued the front cover title onto the front of the book and pressed the book as normal.

Things I've learned

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[ Page last updated 11-Jan-2006 ]