My Bookmarks and A Brief History

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Bookmarks may seem like a rather dull topic for a post but as a book lover they are a gift I often receive and as result now have a wide variety of. I have gone through phases in my life of using them and not. When I was younger I used book marks, the one here with the owls on I think is my oldest as I remember using it when I was reading Roald Dhal. As a got a bit older however I started not using them as I won’t put a book down till I finish the chapter so I could just remember where I was. Now though I have started using them again and I am currently using the self drawn one of the tree with books on it. I like it not just because it’s my design but because it is just laminated paper so it is thin enough not to leave bumps in the book.

I decided that if I was going to post about bookmarks I should see if I could find out if there was a history too them and was surprised to find there is.

The oldest bookmark that has been found is from the medieval times but with scrolls 40 metres long the Egyptians must have used something to mark their places when reading. Between the 13th and 15th century bookmarks were used in monasteries and already came in a varies of shapes and sizes. Made of vellum or leather they could be plain strips or triangular clip-ons.

This one is made of vellum and could be turned to show what column of the page you were on.

In the 18th and 19th Century bookmarks became just a narrow silk ribbon no more than a centimetre in width that was attached to the top of the spine of the book. These are still common in many hard back books today. 

In the 1850’s the fist detachable bookmarks began to appear. An early reference to these appears in Mary Russell Mitford’s Recollections of a Literary Life (1852) where she refers to it not as a Bookmark as we would now but as a marker.

In the Victorian ages bookmarks began to be used as advertisements. Common items where soaps, popular foods, female garments and medicines. At this time embroidered bookmarks also started to be used. It was a great way for young girls to show the skills they had learnt on a small canvas. Then they were used in Bibles and Prayer books and are now often given as gifts.

In the 1860’s woven bookmarks began to be manufactured. Thomas Steven was the most popular and his marks became known as Stevenmarks. The Victorian’s like to give the silk woven marks as gifts as they were made for every occasion including text.

By the 1880’s however the woven markers started to lose popularity and stiff cardboard bookmarks began to appear and many companies used them as an advertising tool.

Now bookmarks come in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials. Although they are no longer really used for advertisements they still make great gifts and they make a great craft to do with kids of any age because they possibilities are endless.

If you want to read any more I got all this information thanks to Miragebookmark.


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