The American Bookbinders Museum is the only museum of its kind in North America, celebrating and exploring the culture and tools of bookbinding, from its earliest forms to the changes and innovations of the industrial revolution. In addition to the craft and artistry of binding, we focus on the stories of the men, women, and children who worked in binderies.
We are dedicated not only to memorializing a means of production that has become antique, but serving as a comprehensive archive of materials documenting the methods and history behind the industry. We have a reading room with librarian-assisted access to an extensive collection of bookbinding literature that provide a vital resource to scholars, historians, and members of the bookbinding trade.
Mission and History
The American Bookbinders Museum was founded by Tim James, a commercial bookbinder who became fascinated with the craft’s history while he was amassing and upgrading his equipment. Researching and acquiring vintage materials became a dedicated hobby, but as his collection of machines, books and periodicals became more massive it raised the question of what he was supposed to do with all of it. The answer was to use these resources to mount an authentic, functioning 19th century-style bookbindery.
In the age of digitization, our relationship with the book has evolved, making this the ideal time to tell the history of this object and memorialize its significance in regards to where we are today. Through our research library and archive, we offer scholars a world-class collection of resources that can immerse them in the experience of the time.
The American Bookbinders Museum is a registered 501(c)3 organization.
- Tim James, Founder
- Elspeth Olson, Librarian/Archivist
- Madeleine Robins, In-House Events and Project Manager
- Anna Links, Marketing & Museum Services
- Jane Rades, Facilities/Office Manager
- David Eves, IT
- Sherry Lochhaas, Library and Archives
- Chris Saccheri, Web
ABM in the News
- Bookbinder Opens Working Museum in SF (San Francisco Chronicle)
- American Bookbinders Museum, San Francisco (Fine Books & Collections)
- The American Bookbinders Museum (Laughing Squid)
- From the Design Desk: American Bookbinders Museum (Chronicle Books)
- Toni Sala at the American Bookbinders Museum (Two Lines Press)
- 422-Volume Rare Book Collection Becomes an Integral Part of the American Bookbinders Museum (iBookBinding)