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Barbara Adams Hebard research files on Bertha Stuart book bindings

Call Number: MS 7043

Scope and Contents

This collection contains Barbara Adams Hebard’s research on Bertha Stuart, a book cover designer active at the beginning of the twentieth century. Hebard gathered this material with the intent of writing a biography about Stuart. The research became the basis for an exhibit of Stuart’s designs that was featured in the Rare Books Department of the Boston Public Library entitled “A Fixed Rule of Design: The Book Art of Bertha Stuart”. The catalog for the exhibit, Hebard’s correspondence with historical societies, museums, and Stuart’s family as well as correspondence between Stuart and Henry Holt, her employer, is included.

Also included are photocopies of Stuart's sketchbooks and book covers; photographs of Stuart, her book plates, and her watercolors;  and information on Stuart’s contemporaries Julie Pratt, Margaret Law, and Anna Belle Crocker.


  • 1996 - 2009


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Items in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. In most cases, the Boston Public Library does not hold the copyright to the items in our collections. It is the sole responsibility of the user to make their own determination about what types of usage might be permissible under U.S. and international copyright law.

Barbara Adams Hebard (1951-)

Barbara Adams Hebard is an American conservator and bookbinder. She was born on July 26, 1951 in Fort Dodge, Iowa to George D. and Bonnie J. Adams. Adams Hebard earned her Bachelor's Degree from the University Massachusetts in 1975 trained in bookbinding and book conservation at the North Bennet Street School. She has worked as a conservator in libraries since 1989. She served as Conservator of the John J. Burns Library at Boston College. Hebard writes book related articles and book reviews, gives talks and presentations, exhibits her bookbindings nationally and internationally, and teaches book history classes. She is a Fellow of IIC, a Professional Associate of AIC, a board member of the New England Conservation Association, and an Overseer of the North Bennet Street School.

Bertha Stuart (1869-1953)

Bertha Stuart was born on October 22, 1869 in Clinton, Iowa. When she was a child, her family moved to Chicago where her father opened a stationary store. Stuart studied design at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and in 1890, won first prize for Decorative Designing. The Stuarts moved to Portland, Oregon in the early 1890s. While in Portland, Stuart continued to draw and sketch.

In 1900, Stuart moved to New York City to pursue her art career. She attended the Women’s School at Cooper’s Union and also took courses at the Art Student’s League. In 1902, while at Cooper’s Union, she won the Bronze Medal for Designing among first year students and later that year, won a prize for Best Design in Silk. In 1904, she began to work for Henry Holt’s publishing company for which she drew 73 of her 168 cover designs. By 1912, changes in publisher’s binding styles eliminated the need for book cover artists such as Stuart; consequently she stopped working for Holt in 1914.

Stuart returned to Portland and opened an interior decorating shop called The Studio. Some of her clients included the Pittock Mansion, the Governor’s Mansion, and the Autzen Mansion. Stuart died in Portland on January 22, 1953.


0.25 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Organized alphabetically.

Method of Acquisition

Gift of Barbara Adams Hebard, 2009.

Related Materials

Stuart, Bertha,For you: a collection of old favorite love songs. PN 6110.L6F671902 c.1

Stuart, Bertha, illustrator. Riley, James Whitcomb, 1853 – Good-bye Jim. [verse.] Illustrated by Howard Chandler Christy, Decorations by Bertha Stuart. *A.7479.32

“A Fixed Rule of Design: The Book Art of Bertha Stuart” An exhibit in the Rare Books Department of the Boston Public Library, October-December 2009. (Exhibit material located in the Rare Books Department).

Processing Information

This electronic finding aid is transcribed from legacy data. In many cases, transcriptions were not verified against collection materials at the time of transcription. As a result, this finding aid could be incomplete and might only reflect a partial understanding of the material.

Statement on harmful description

Archival description reflects the biases of time periods and cultures in which it was created and may include direct quotations or descriptions that use inappropriate or harmful language. Creator provided descriptions may be maintained in order to preserve the context in which the collection was created and/or used. Legacy description and potentially offensive content may be made available online until a collection can be reprocessed because the access that they provide to primary source materials is uniquely valuable to the research community at large. Our efforts to repair outdated descriptions and to describe our collections more equitably are iterative and ongoing.
Guide to the Barbara Adams Hebard research files on Bertha Stuart book bindings
Alissa Link
2012 April
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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About this library

Part of the Boston Public Library Archives & Special Collections Repository

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