The title page contains just what it says; the title! It also usually includes the subtitle, if there is any, the author, the publisher, publishing date, and any pertinent information that will help the reader navigate the book or be able to contextualize it. Often the typeface is enlarged or minimized as it suits the page aesthetically, and unites the information as a cohesive piece, meant to represent the rest of the book.


This title page contextualizes the book with the other publications of "The Author," who we now know is Sir Walter Scott. This title page also includes verse referencing Don Quixote

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There are multiple typefaces in play here, including a bold typeface, a shadowed typeface, and a Roman typeface. The different types are obviously meant to mark different topics or names. The differences are noticeable and needed for the title page to draw the eye to certain areas. 

The small type shown here on the title page is consistent with the typeface throughout the rest of the book, though that just means that the typeface used for both the title page and the rest of the book were easy for the printer to use and compile on the printing frame. Since there is no colophon at the end of the book, it is hard to ascertain what the typeface was actually called, but comparison between similar books from the period may determine how popular the typeface was, or if it was particular to this printer, though unlikely at this point in printing history.

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Most books owned by libraries in this period were marked carefully with where they were from and where on the shelf they should go, or at the very least a number to identify them with the library records. The reason there is a price associated with this book may have something to do with the subscription library system, which allowed members of private libraries, as most were at this time, to pay a fee in order to use and peruse the books at their leisure. The price in the book may be the extra fee to use this book, or what the book would cost if you wanted to buy it off of the library.

The particular book once belonged to the Williamstown Library, either in Massachusetts or in New Jersey. The library in Massachusetts was formed in 1874 and mostly contained agricultural texts, while the one in New Jersey was built in 1878, though it is unclear whether either of these was at any point a subscription library. 

To read about the membership libraries of today from Quartz Magazine, click on the button below. 

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