Jacques Auguste de Thou (October 8, 1553, Paris – May 7, 1617, Paris) was a French historian, book collector and president of the Parlement de Paris. He assembled a library of approximately 13,000 volumes, which, unusual for the time, was open to any scholar who wished to consult it. His collection was so impressive that it was said you hadn’t seen Paris until you had seen his library. Today, de Thou’s bindings are highly collectible. Frequently bound in a simple brown polished calf, with a central gilt escutcheon stamped in blind, along with gilt monograms applied to the spine, his binding’s are also the precursor to the later Bourbon bindings.
Tisch Library recently identified three examples during a re-cataloging project.
The first item is an example of his “bachelor binding” effectively dating its entry into his library sometime before 1587.
de Thou’s bachelor binding
See library record: http://library.tufts.edu/record=b1195805~S1
The second item item has Jacques-August de Thou arms together with those of his first wife, Marie Barbancon, and with the conjoint monogram “I A M”—ie, his name, Iacques-Auguste with his wife, Marie.
Marie Barbancon and de Thou
See library record: http://library.tufts.edu/record=b1209332~S1
The third item has Jacques-August de Thou arms together with those of his second wife, Gasparde de La Chastre, and with the conjoint monogram “I A G”—ie, his name, Iacques-Auguste with his wife, Gasparde. (The book’s imprint indicates that it entered his collection after his death, and may have been accessioned by his son.)
Gasparde and de Thou
See library record: http://library.tufts.edu/record=b1381192~S1
All three items were gifts from Walter Welch, and appear to have been purchased specifically for their historic bindings.