Bookmarks: a history

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Since as long as writing has been around we have had books. Also as long as books have been around we seem to have had bookmarks. From a simple piece of cloth through to a magnet piece of art, the bookmark has come a long way.

The definition of a bookmark is: is a thin marker, commonly made of card, leather, or fabric, used to keep the reader’s place in a book and to enable the reader to return to it with ease.

The origin date of the bookmark dates back to medieval period. Back then the bookmarks consisted of a small strip of parchment that was attached to the spine of the book. As books were rare things in those days, the bookmark was used to mark a persons place without marking the book. Queen Elizabeth I was one of the first people to ever own a bookmark.

Bookmarks of the collectible kind, that where unattached to the book began appearing in 1850s. Silk bookmarks began to be woven in the 1860s and were manufactured in Coventry, England. A bookmark of this caliber was considered a very thoughtful gift in the Victorian Era.

Today there are many different types of bookmarks, while many are made of heavy paper there are a number of other materials which include: ribbon, fabric, felt, steel, wire, tin, beads, wood, plastic, vinyl, silver, gold, and other precious metals, some decorated with gemstones. Bookmarks making has even become a repeatable Etsy store, like Vivian H, who I got my bookmarks from.

My bookmark collections include:

  • 8 magnet bookmarks – custom made
  • 75 paper ones, and of that include
    • 22 Book Depository bookmarks
    • 6 custom made
    • 10 larger


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