Little Leather Library Collection, MS 160
Scope and Content Note
The Little Leather Library Collection consists of 101 books, 3-1/4" x 4," published by the Little Leather Library Corporation of New York. The miniature books are brownish green in color, of imitation leather, and characteristic of the Redcroft edition published between 1920-1924.
There were over 100 miniature book titles published in the various editions of the Little Leather Library, but it is not known if all of these titles were included in the Redcroft edition. Only the first two editions were bound in real leather.
The production of the Little Leather Library enabled the masses to read inexpensive classics. The cheap imitation leather Redcroft edition, published between 1920-1924, appears to have been a take-off on the well-crafted books published by Elbert Hubbard's Roycroft Press.
Elbert Hubbard, who was inspired by William Morris' Arts and Crafts movement in England, became an important Reformist in the United States, beginning the Roycroft movement and community in East Aurora, New York in 1895.
Hubbard's Roycroft Press was modeled after Morris' Kelmscott Press. Books made from handmade paper were printed on the Roycrofter's Golding Pearl letterpress. There is a marked difference between the finely bound, hand-crafted Roycroft volumes of Emerson, Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Louis Stevenson and Coleridge and their Redcroft edition counterparts.
Although the Arts and Crafts Movement was a reaction to the mechanization of the Industrial Revolution, there were those in the movement who felt that objects should be affordable.
Roycrofters supported those who did fine personal work in all endeavors, to include the design work in factories, but it is doubtful that the Roycroft seal would be applied to the volumes of the Little Leather Library.
The volumes of the Little Leather Library are stored in two boxes. The provenance, or original organization, of the books has been preserved for the most part and the collection is in one series.