Beauty for Commerce chronicles the growth of English and American publishers' binding from its infancy in the 1830s to its decline in the early 20th century.
Highlighted are the distinct changes in design that reflected not only technical innovations in the means of book production and decoration but shifting social and cultural trends as well. Viewed as a group, publishers' bindings represent a revolution in the history of the book. Viewed individually, each binding offers an often gilded window to the fashion of its day.
The original exhibit was created by Andrea Reithmayr based The online exhibit is based on the physical exhibit, "Beauty for Commerce: Publishers' Bookbindings 1830-1910", that was on display from March 25, 2002 to August 1, 2002.