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.
Notes On Priority of Dating
City Directories are prepared the year preceding their publication date, so a bookbinder that appears in the 1860 city directory was at the stated address 1859 (when the directory was compiled) whereas an advertisement in a newspaper will not suffer the same time delay. In application this means that if a bookbinder appears in the 1860 directory at “60 Main Street” and in the January 30 Newspaper at “28 Pine Street” we would list the Main Street address as prior to the Pine street address. Address that appear in Family Histories and County Histories often rely on memory and, unless the author’s sources are cited, are treated as less reliable than either newspapers or City Directories.
A significant number of city directories are referred to names other than “city directory”, “Registers” being just one. Most online sources of “City Directories list them, as such, and do so by year regardless of what the actual title reads. We have chosen to accept this convention. We have also chosen to simplify as “city directory” as opposed to: “Chicago City Directory” when the listing is for a bookbinder from Chicago. Having eliminated the original title it seems awkward to rechristen the volume when city directory and the date would suffice. If more than one directory was issued for the same year.
Standard Reference for Bookbinders, and the abbreviations used to reference them
Hannah French,: “Early American Bookbinding by Hand” from: “Bookbinding in America” Lehmann-Haupt ed. 1967.
Sidney F. Huttner and Elizabeth Stege Huttner. A Register of Artists, Engravers, Booksellers, Bookbinders, Printers and Publishers in New York City,1821-42
Packer, Maurice Bookbinders of Victorian London, The British Library, 1991.
“Early American Bookbindings from the Collection of Michael Papantonio”, The American Antiquarian Society, 1985
- Ramsden (FR)
Charles Ramsden, French Bookbinders 1789-1848, B. T. Batsford publisher. 1989
- Ramsden (London)
Charles Ramsden, London Bookbinders 1780-1840 B. T. Batsford publisher 1987
- Ramsden (UK)
Charles Ramsden, Bookbinders of the United Kingdom (outside London) 1780-1840 B.T Batsford pub. 1987
- Spawn – Am.
Willman Spawn, & Thomas Kinsella, “American Signed Bindings through 1876”. Oak Knoll & Bryn Mawr 2007
- Spawn – Br.
Spawn, William & Thomas E. Kinsella, Ticketed Bookbindings from Nineteenth-Century Britain
- I. Thomas
Isiah Thomas, “History of Printing in America” various