Collections

The American Bookbinders Museum (ABM) collects and exhibits equipment, books, and ephemera related to the art of bookbinding. The only museum of its kind in the U.S., ABM is dedicated to the preservation of and education about the art and craft of bookbinding.

We seek to expand knowledge and understanding about the processes involved in bookbinding, the evolution of the book through time, and the people who were and are masters of this unique craft. This goal is achieved, not in small part, through access to the museum’s extensive collection of equipment, books and ephemera.

Have equipment or archival material that you would like to consider donating to our collection? Check our our wanted list to see what we’re looking for!

Bookbinders Directory

This database contains biographical information on over three thousand American bookbinders and a lesser number of bookbinders from around the world. The database has been assembled mostly from primary sources including newspapers, city directories, letterheads, and bookbinders tickets. This is a work in progress and, as such, has not been thoroughly edited. Please check our data against the citations provided prior to publication. We welcome both corrections and additions if accompanied by verifiable citations.

If you have photographs of bookbinders, tickets, trade cards, letterheads or other ephemera that you would like included in this database you may send us scans or originals. If you send us originals please contact us first to make clear arrangements for us to either scan and return or acknowledge them as a donation to our collection. Unless requested otherwise, we will credit you with the citation. All scans provided to the American Bookbinders Museum become property of the Bookbinders Museum.

To avoid suggestions of favoritism we do not list contemporary bookbinders but will publish biographies of deceased bookbinders if submitted by family members.

Equipment

The museum collection focuses largely upon the innovations of the industrial revolution. For details and history on some of these pieces, click View. Please contact equipment@bookbindersmuseum.org for more information.

Library Catalog

The museum library is comprised of books and periodicals on the following subjects: bookbinding, papermaking, printing, bookbinding machinery and tools, labor history related to bookbinding and allied trades, and other areas related to book arts and artisans. Most of the material is in English, with some texts in Russian, Japanese, Italian, French, Spanish or other languages. Contact librarian@bookbindersmuseum.org for more information.

Archive Catalog

The museum archive encompasses print materials, documents, manuscripts, ephemera, oral histories, visual materials and photographs in these same subject areas, including bookbinding and printing business archives, machinery manuals, cloth sample books, bookbinders’ tickets, machinery, parts and other related items. Contact librarian@bookbindersmuseum.org for more information.

Access/Usage Policies

The museum collection, both library and archives, are research collections for use on site at the American Bookbinders Museum, by appointment only. Researchers interested in using the collection should contact the Librarian/ Archivist at librarian@bookbindersmuseum.org for more information or an appointment.

Permission is required for use of images on our website.

Wanted List

Have equipment or archival material that you would like to consider donating to our collection? Check our our wanted list to see what we’re looking for!