Winterberry Farm Primitives

This blog is now devoted to gardening with native plants with a focus on those species native to the east coast of the United States. With an MS in Agricultural Science from the University of Delaware and my love of native plants, I hope to help folks see the beauty and necessity of using native plants in your garden instead of exotic plants. Did you know that our native song birds and native insects are disappearing as our local environments continue to change?
For those who come to this page to see my 'Winterberry Farm Primitives' blog can now be found at where I will post new additions to my online antiques shop at and discuss various subjects about primitive antiques.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Books, Glorious Books! OR....Antique Leather Bound Books, My Latest Passion!

One the best things about being an antique dealer who specializes in 18th and 19th century primitive antiques, is the knowledge you acquire as you develop passions and seek out new and fascinating things for your customers. When I started my business back in 2010, I had already been a collector of early primitive antiques for over 25 years but needed to expand my knowledge to better serve my new customers. My personal collections include antique painted document boxes, pewter, and other antiques that would have been found in colonial homes but a visit to Monticello in the fall of 2010 opened my eyes to a new passion....antique leather bound books. Walking through Thomas Jefferson's library/book room as it looks today, there are only a couple of floor to ceiling bookcases that house a small portion of his once elegant library that contained over 2,000 books from his third and final collection. The elegance and simplicity of these leather bound books sitting in their bookcases brought a sense of warmth and started that kernel of an idea in my brain. What started as a mere thought has quickly multiplied into an ever-growing and ever-changing collection in my own home. Click on this first picture to see the entire collection of pictures in this posting! This is just a small portion of this new passion that sits in an early secretary from Pennsylvania. I have to admit that this is a passion that can quickly change into an obsession and I am now completely obsessed! The books in this first picture are from 1756 and are a set of thirteen Natural History books that include their original engravings on all sorts of birds and animals - some of which are extinct today. But! I digress! The main focus of this posting is to give you an idea of how to collect, decorate, and cherish early leather bound books and it doesn't matter if you have one book or an entire library of books to get that primitive/early colonial look for your home. These two pictures show a corner of my living room and just a few of my books from my collection. There are three Vermont law books from the early 1800's in the hanging cupboard and also two small 18th century books sitting on a reeded-leg table between two early 18th century tiger maple banister back chairs. I am still working on this area but the addition of just these six books (there is one on the grain painted cupboard under the hanging cupboard) is enough to bring some elegance to the room. It is necessary to point out that books were only available to a wealthy person who could afford to buy them. The few books in these pictures would show the wealth and standing of the family that owned them and would have been cherished items in their homes. Today's collector has several different reasons to collect but I will be concentrating on those of us who want to add a primitive and country feel to our homes. How to display your books can be a problem because after a while, you will never have enough books to fill all of the places that would be 'perfect' for an antique leather bound book or two.. Here are just a few books from my collection from Christmas 2013. Notice how just a sprig or two of greens (I use silk greens to protect my collections from sap) and a little Santa or two give areas of your rooms a special glow when the backdrop is a shelf of antique books. Another way to use your books is sitting on your slant top desk, open (or closed) with an early pair of glasses sitting on it. Or place a few in a cupboard along with other antiques and primitives for a nice focal point. Another way to use parts of your book collection is as a backdrop to other treasures or even as a backdrop for a special book that you have on an easel. This is a set of four volumes of the story 'Tom Jones' from 1828 and notice the backdrop of the rest of the 'library' behind these wonderful little books. There are so many ways that you can use these early books in your home as decorative items or as part of your new or existing collection. All of the pictures in this posting are of my own collection and those that are available for sale in my online shop at You can just click on my banner at the top of this blog to go to my online shop 'Winterberry Farm Primitives' and click on the Leather Bound Books button to find all of the books that I have for sale to get your own collection started. Below are just a few more pictures of how to display your collections. NEXT!!!! Which leather books to collect and where to find them!!!!!!!

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