Ahhhh. The Lockdown  version 4,5,6. What to do?  Embark on those projects that don't do well in fits and starts but need dedicated time. Let me see what I will choose.

Reliable Poultry Journal 38 volumes 1894 to 1931.  Volumes 2-11 are ok just need cleaning, Volumes 31-38 need new hinge reinforcement.  All the rest need rebinding.

 The good the bad and the ugly.


The ugly.



 A back off



More Backs off

But I somehow there is a batch of pics missing of the inbetween , still the inbetween was a couple of months so who knows.



They look much nicer new . The green leather was very bright so I re-stained with a water based black dye, which appeared too dark but with time had come to what the poultry people call a beetle sheen black. The sign of quality in the black feather. So I think that suits.


 Pieces of the spine recovered and in bags for placement in the raer of the related issues.



 Kansas State University  Bookplate and sample of old ep .



Dayton Public Library Bookplate and ep sample.



The brown cases received a  light touch of tan stain and a good polish. 




The cloth hingers were all intact but needed an overlay of new cloth 

Hinge and bookplate Kansas City Library


 Sorry about the photos in the middle but alas  nothing to see now of the process except end papers.


So if you want to read all the boring stuff  really just my notes and thoughts sanitised for public consumption, then please read on.



Reliable Poultry Journal 

a repair of a near complete set undertaken in 2021 by James Finger, Dorking Bindery Australia.

Collation of set at Dorking Press before any work was undertaken, along with notes and questions which arose in the process.

Red indicates incomplete or missing volumes,  Blue is repairs undertaken after collation. Blue also includes added loose issues to complete any missing parts.

Reliable poultry Journal was established with its first issue in March 1894 . Each Volume runs From March with Issue 1 to Issue 12 being Feb of the next year. The pages were numbered 1-XXX for the year, but the wrappers were not included in the number sequence . The wrappers represent another 4 printed pages in each issue, 48 pages for the year. Occasional volumes were bound with no wrappers included (see individual collation).

The last issue of Reliable Poultry Journal was Volume 38 No 3 May 1931. The June issue is renamed The New Reliable Poultry Journal still numbered as Vol 38 no 4 , subtitled devoted to Poultry Garden and Home. The 6 issues flowed up to Vol 38 No 10 held this new title.

Vol 38 11 is renamed Poultry, subtitle Garden and Home. However the publisher is still Reliable Poultry Journal Publishing Co In Dayton Ohio, advertiser for the course of study. in Vol 38 issue 12. The content changed from poultry production and breeding to poultry on the home allotment.

This almost complete set has multiple sources, so the provenance tends to be somewhat speculative.

Many loose volumes came to me either as single issues or in bound volumes from the collection of John Skinner. I was aware that John had sold off a large volume of serials before I purchased the remainder.  O.E. Skinner is mentioned in RPJ at various places and I have letters where he is mentioned in connection with RPJ .

I do not think it unfair to link the first collection with the book plates of Department of Poultry Science, Kansas State University, Library of Leland Call Hall. The Skinner family senior and John his son, well known poultry historian and collector, had strong links to the KSU, and I suspect that John had first option in any major dispersal. John sold some major chunks of his collection before selling the remainder of his poultry to me.  Tickets in the volumes indicate that part of collection was bought from Dr Hollis Bedell bookseller, by Adrian Kuys, then later by me. The Hollis book tags are attached to volume one.   In the print bversion I have used colour to highlight parts replaced bundings done etc.

The first series all has bookplates of Leland Call Hall  Kansas State University

The second series has the book plate of Dayton Public Library .

The third series has the bookplate of Kansas City Public Library


I sorted the books up according to 3 initial groups. 

The first I  called the Series and I used the Book Plates in each volume as the indicator .  There are 3 different Book plates and several other owners marks.

The second part is the Style, and I used binding information, style, techniques materials, binders plates to identify the books volumes.

The Third part is the Actual Issues in each group. The issues are identifies as 1-12  (i-xiII in Roman numerals)and the date from March Issue 1 to Feb issue 12 of the following year. For this reason many bound sets show 2 years and it can be quite confusing.


FIRST SERIES    Bookplate Dept of Poultry Science, Leland Call Hall, Kansas State University.

SECOND SERIES   Dayton Public Library plate 

THIRD SERIES      Bookplate of Kansas City Public Library.


First Style.  Half Black leather with textured black book cloth sides. Boards detached spine damaged.

Second Style.  Half Leather in dark Tan with brown cloth sides and  several ep. Binders tag

Third  Style.  Half Leather, cloth sides, spine hollow, mostly brown (br) leather black (bl)sides, other colours as noted. McMein Printing Binding Co Quincy Illinois binders tag.

Fourth Style   Red Buckram with library corners, plain brown or grey end papers, library stamp on book-block.  Binder unknown,

Fifth Style    Dorking press rebound, repair style. Half leather, beetle green/black with black cloth sides, false raised bands. Buff end papers with flex hinges. Book plates and samples of old EP are included along with samples of the old leather spines when they were able to be recovered. These have been placed in sleeves at the rear of relevant volumes.


Discussion and notes.

It is an honour to have this near complete set in my hands. My investigations with several libraries show that very few complete sets exist in libraries. The library of Congress I am sure has a set, but most of the university and state libraries I contact have representative issues listed but none on the shelves. They were disposed of from lack of use and a few told me they don't bother to see materials like this they just shred recycle

The different series and styles had me a little confused as they exhibited commonalities in materials. They seemed to come from a common binder, but in widely different end locations, different end papers but some same in differently bound sets, stitching methods showed different hands. It did not possible they were all the same set. Only later I discovered an article that showed the publisher was in Quincy Illinois and later moved to Dayton Ohio. The binding company in Dayton Ohio, and the volumes were all bound there but for different end users so had slightly different materials for the different end users, and I suspect not all done in one set but over the span of some years, so the actual binders, that is the craftsmen on the floor ware different, making the sets for each customer’s specification.

To use or not reuse.  The issue of reusing the original boards in the new set had to be made. Several of the original boards were missing, and the process of removing the greatly decayed leather (red rot) was so difficult that I could not justify the time. So all rebound volumes were bound with new boards, as the originals  volumes had all been trimmed, the replacements also followed the trimmed volumes rather than a uniform size. 

This was a challenge to me to handle such a large set, and I classify this as a repair not a restoration. Several of the volumes had been stores badly since the original bindings were lost and without a complete restoration, were difficult to reassemble. I was reluctant to pull completely and start again, as the volumes had already been trimmed quite hard. Another trim would result in significant text losses. So I repaired as well as possible for function, but wouldn’t call them fine bindings. The look good together, with some limitations on the structures. Enough for another binder to wonder about in a 100 years.


First Series First Style

Volume 1 Issue 1 March 1894  to  Issue 12 Feb 1895 pp 240. Half black leather black cloth sides. FR board detached, fr wrapper some damage.  Dorking Press Rebind in Fifth Style.


First Series  Second Style   Half Brown leather, with red cloth sides. all in very good cond unless noted. Some close trimming of blocks with sl loss. Original bindings.

Volume 2  Issue 1 March 1895  to  Issue 12 Feb 1896  pp 724

Volume 3  Issue 1 March 1896  to  Issue 12 Feb 1897  pp 920

Volume 4  Issue 1 March 1897  to  Issue 12 Feb 1898  pp 928

Volume 5  Issue 1 March 1898  to  Issue 12 Feb 1899  pp 1120

Volume 6  Issue 1 March 1899  to  Issue 12 Feb 1900  pp 1208

Volume 7  Issue 1 March 1900  to  Issue 12 Feb 1901  pp 1248

Volume 8 Issue 1 March 1901  to  Issue 12 Feb 1902  pp 1192

Volume 9  Issue 1 March 1902 to  Issue 12 Feb 1903  pp 1216

Volume 10  Issue 1 March 1903  to  Issue 12 Feb 1904  pp 1296

Volume 13  Issue 1 March 1906  to  Issue 12 Feb 1907  pp 1272

First Series  Second Style badly damaged with missing parts   

Volume 11  Issue 1 March 1904, 5, 9, 10,12 Feb 1905  balance missing. Lower board Half Black leather green cloth  sides  style 1 Kansas stamps no bookplate. see below odds. Rebound by Dorking Press in Fifth Style with additional issues from other sources to make complete

Vol 12  March 1905 Issue 1 ,2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 Feb 1906. One rear board  Half  black leather black cloth sides. Style 1 Kansas stamps no bookplate. Missing 3,  Rebound by Dorking press in Fifth Style with an allowance for later addition of issue 3. Copy of bookplate and sample of EP added. 

First Series  Third Style  Half Leather, cloth sides, spine hollow, mostly brown (br) leather, black (bl) cloth sides, other colours as noted.  All Rebound by Dorking Press in Fifth Style

Volume 14  Issue 1 March 1907  to  Issue 12 Feb 1908  pp 1164. Lower spine missing sides rubbed. BR leather and cloth

Volume 15  Issue 1 March 1908  to  Issue 12 Feb 1909  pp 1266. Upper spine missing corners rubbed BR L blk cloth

Volume 16  Issue 1 March 1909  to  Issue 12 Feb 1910 pp 1230 bds detached  spine missing several pages loose on ends of block.

Volume 17  Issue 1 March 1910  to  Issue 12 Feb 1911  pp 1436 spine missing corners bumped with binders tag McMein Printing Binding Co Quincy Illinois

Vol 18 Missing from the set.  A full set collected from other sources to replace the missing volume. No BP added.

Series 2    Dayton Public Library plate 

This series all in  Second Style but with different EP bound by same binding firm but different binders hands, (technique differences). All carried the ACK annotation with shelf locations.  All rebound in Fifth Style with notes about bookplates and ep if required. Some bookplates are copies as the Dayton originals were unrecoverable.

Volume 19  Issue 1 March 1912  to  Issue 12 Feb 1913  pp 1820 spine  mostly missing boards loose but attached. Dayton acquisition number 709252  1955

Volume 20  Issue 1 March 1913  to  Issue 12 Feb 1914  pp 1560   spine complete front hinge broken  Dayton acquisition number 709253  1955

Volume 21  Issue 1 March 1914  to  Issue 12 Feb 1915  pp 1478. spine missing  Dayton acquisition number 709254  1955

Volume 22  Issue 1 March 1915  to  Issue 12 Feb 1916  pp 1536  spine and boards almost detached. First Series Kansas University Bookplate but bound in Style 2. This one is quite odd, but when the EP were examined it revealed Dayton Second Style EP but with endpapers from the Kansas style over the top of the Dayton ones. It raises the question as to whether the books were all sent from Dayton Library to the Kansas University, some used in library sets(s) and then the lot sold off later. Rebound with the KSU ep in place. I think also its fair to assume it’s the missing acquisition number 70925 of the Dayton series.

Volume 23  Issue 1 March 1916 to  Issue 12 Feb 1917  pp 1300 spine missing brown ep Dayton acquisition number 709256  1955

Volume 24  Issue 1 March 1917  to  Issue 12 Feb 1918  pp 1202 spine missing back damaged brown ep Dayton acquisition number 709257  1955

Volume 25  Issue 1 March 1918  to  Issue 12 Feb 1919  pp 1204   end papers plain brown paper Dayton acquisition number 709258  1955

Volume 26  Issue 1 March 1919  to  Issue 12 Feb 1920  pp 1320 end papers plain brown paper back weak Dayton acquisition number 709259  1955

Volume 27  Issue 1 March 1920  to  Issue 12 Feb 1921  pp 1276 end papers plain brown paper back weak, spine missing a few loose pages stitching missed. Dayton acquisition number 709260  1955

Vol 28 missing  Some parts of Vol 28 have been located, and  a set of Fifth Style matching leather, end papers, cloth, headband, etc retained in a labelled box to match the final issue if found. Issues 7, 9, 11 found. A sparer set of leather cloth , ep and boards in a case put aside for matching should the missing issues be located.


The Third Series has the bookplate of Kansas City Public Library.

Third Style.  Red Buckram with library corners, plain brown or grey end papers, library stamp on bookblock.  Binder unknown, the cloth hinge end paper joints were worn. All hinges reinforced with matching cloth.

Volume 29  Issue 1 March 1922  to  Issue 12 Feb 1923  pp 1420  rear hinge weak

Volume 30  Issue 1 March 1923  to  Issue 12 Feb 1924  pp 1290 weak rear hinge

Volume 31  Issue 1 March 1924  to  Issue 12 Feb 1925  pp 1336  detached rear hinge

Volume 32  Issue 1 March 1925  to  Issue 12 Feb 1926  pp 1290 weak  hinges

Volume 33  Issue 1 March 1926  to  Issue 12 Feb 1927  pp  946  weak rear hinge

Volume 34  Issue 1 March 1927  to  Issue 12 Feb 1928  pp 868

Volume 35  Issue 1 March 1928  to  Issue 12 Feb 1929  pp 808 weak front hinge

Volume 36  Issue 1 March 1929  to  Issue 12 Feb 1930  pp 674 rear board paper wrinkled

Volume 37  Issue 1 March 1930  to  Issue 12 Feb 1931  pp 560  front FEP and frontis loose

Volume 38  Issue 1 March 1931  to  Issue 12 Feb 1932 pagination is now per issue and the last of Reliable Poultry Journal  now Poultry   Home and Garden.