Florian asked, in a comment, what my most commonly used bookbinding reference books are. Below is a list, which is heavily weighted to my current interests in early nineteenth century American bookbinding. The books below serve a variety of purposes for me. Some contain a quick review of structural history and others are key primary references. Some are a basic starting point for more in-depth research and others are a handy source of images to show clients. Anyone else have some favorites?
Appleton’s Dictionary of Machines, Mechanics, Engine-Work and Engineering. New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1852.
Baker, Cathleen A. From the Hand to the Machine: Nineteenth-Century American Paper and Mediums: Technologies, Materials and Conservation. Ann-Arbor, Michigan: The Legacy Press, 2010.
Bearman, Frederick, Nati H. Krivatsy, and J. Franklin Mowery. Fine and Historic Bookbindings from the Folger Shakespeare Library. Washington, DC: The Folger Shakespeare Library, 1992.
Bennett, Stuart. Trade Bookbinding in the British Isles, 1660-1800. New Castle, Deleware and London: Oak Knoll Press and The British Library, 2004.
Bloom, Jonathan M. Paper before Print. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001.
Blumenthal, Joseph. The Printed Book in America. Hanover, New Hampshire: Dartmouth College Library, 1989.
Bookbinding in America, 1680-1910. From the Collection of Frederick E. Maser. Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania: Bryn Mawr College Library, 1983.
Bosch, Gulnar, John Carswell, and Guy Petherbridge. Islamic Bindings & Bookmaking. Chicago: The Oriental Institute, 1981.
Carter, John. ABC for Book Collectors, 7th ed. Revised by Nicholas Barker. New Castle, Delaware: Oak Knoll Press, 1995.
Comparato, Frank E. Books for the Millions: A History of the Men Whose Methods and Machines Packaged the Printed Word. Harrisburg, PA: The Stackpole Co., 1971.
Darley, Lionel. Bookbinding Then and Now. London: Faber and Faber, 1959.
De Hamel, Christopher. The Book: A History of the Bible. London: Phaidon Press Limited, 2001.
Edlin, Herbert L. What Wood is That? A Manual for Wood Identification. New York: Viking, 1969.
Foot, Mirjam M. Bookbinders at Work: Their Roles and Methods. New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press, 2006.
French, Hannah D. Bookbinding in Early America. Seven Essays on Masters and Methods. Worchester: American Antiquarian Society, 1986.
Gaskell, Philip. A New Introduction to Bibliography. New Castle, Delaware and Winchester, UK: Oak Knoll Press and St. Paul’s Bibliographies, 1995.
Gascoigne, Bamber. How To Identify Prints: A Complete Guide to Manual and Mechanical Processes from Woodcut to Ink-Jet. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1995.
Gould, F.C. The Mechanization of Bookbinding. London: Master Bookbinders’ Association, 1937.
Harrison, Thomas. “The Bookbinding Craft and Industry” London: Pitman,  Facsimile in “The History of Bookbinding Technique and Design”. Ed. Sidney F. Huttner. New York: Garland, 1990.
Herbert, Luke. The Engineer’s and Mechanic’s Encyclopedia. London: Thomas Kelly, 1841.
The History of Bookbinding 525-1950 A.D. Baltimore, Maryland: The Trustees of The Walters Art Gallery, 1957.
Hoadley, R. Bruce. Identifying Wood: Accurate Results with Simple Tools. Newtown, Connecticut: Taunton Press, 1990.
Knight, Edward. American Mechanical Dictionary. New York: J.B. Ford and Co., 1874.
Krupp, Andrea. Bookcloth in England and America, 1823-50. New Castle, Deleware and London and New York: Oak Knoll Press, The British Library, The Bibliographical Society of America, 2008.
Lehmann-Haupt. The Book in America: A History of the Making and Selling of Books in the United States. New York: R.R. Bowker Co., 1952.
Lehmann-Haupt, Hellmut, Ed. Bookbinding in America: Three Essays. New York: R.R. Bower Co., 1967.
Mayer, Ralph. The Artist’s Handbook of Materials and Techniques, 5th Ed., Revised and Updated. New York: Viking, 1985.
Middleton, Bernard C. A History of English Craft Bookbinding Technique. London: Hafner, 1963.
Pearson, David. English Bookbinding Styles, 1450-1800. London and New Castle: The British Library and Oak Knoll Press, 2005.
Pollard, Graham and Esther Potter. Early Bookbinding Manuals: An Annotated List of Technical Accounts of Bookbinding to 1840. Oxford: Oxford Bibliographical Society, 1984.
Posner, Raphael and Israel Ta-Shema. The Hebrew Book: An Historical Survey. Jerusalem: Keter House Publishing, 1975.
Ramsden, Charles. London Bookbinders 1780-1840. London: Batsford Ltd., (reprint), 1987.
Ramsden, Charles. Bookbinders of the United Kingdom (Outside London) 1780-1840. London: Batsford Ltd., (reprint), 1987.
Ramsden, Charles. French Bookbinders, 1789-1848. London: Batsford Ltd., (reprint), 1989.
Spawn, Willman and Thomas E. Kinsella. Ticketed Bookbindings from Nineteenth-Century Britain. Bryn Mawr and Deleware: Bryn Mawr College Library and Oak Knoll Press, 1999.
Szirmai, J.A. The Archaeology of Medieval Bookbinding. Aldershot: Ashgate, 1999.
Thomlinson, William and Richard Masters. Bookcloth: 1823-1980. Cheshire: Dorthy Tomlinson, 1996.
Tomlinson, Charles. Cyclopaedia of Useful Arts, Mechanical and Chemical…. London: Virtue & Co., 1868.
Ure, Andrew. Dictionary of Arts, Manufactures, and Mines: Containing a Clear Exposition of their Principles and Practice. 2nd. Ed. London: Longman, Orme, Brown, Green & Longmans, 1840.
Wolf, Richard. Marbled Paper: Its History, Techniques and Patterns. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1990.
4 Replies to “Forty Bookbinding Reference Books”
I’m a pre-program intern at the Brooklyn Museum and I will be applying for art conservation programs this Fall. I am specifically interested in bookbinding and paper conservation. I heard about your shop through your blogs, I would love to get a chance to tour it.
Thank you for the consideration.
Sure, I’d be happy to give you a tour. Just email me and we can set up a time. I’m quite close to the Cloisters, and there are two very nice manuscripts that Maria Fredericks rebound on display.
Most of yours are also on my reference shelf, or would be if I had a copy (I hadn’t realized that cheap reprints of Tomlinson and Ure were available). Here are a few more, keeping in mind that the specification was for “books” (not articles, chapters, or pamphlets) and “reference” (though some of these I have internalized well enough that I don’t actually look in them very often); as a result there are no sources listed in several topics (e.g. adhesives, inks, codicology, printing, American hand binders).
Dunbar, Michael. RESTORING, TUNING & USING CLASSIC WOODWORKING TOOLS. New York: Sterling, 1989.
Hock, Ron. THE PERFECT EDGE. Cincinatti: Popular Woodworking Books, 2009. [Primarily for steel manufacture, abrasives, and how tools cut].
Hrisoulas, Jim. THE MASTER BLADESMITH: ADVANCED STUDIES IN STEEL. Boulder: Paladin, 1991. [Primarily for steels and alloying metals].
Pasko, W.W.] AMERICAN DICTIONARY OF PRINTING AND BOOKMAKING. New York: Howard Lockwood, 1894 (reprint New York: Burt Franklin, 1970.)
Plenderleith, H.J.and A.E.A. Werner. THE CONSERVATION OF ANTIQUITIES AND WORKS OF ART. 2nd. ed. London: Oxford University Press, 1971. [For principles, not specific treatments].
Reed, R. ANCIENT SKINS, PARCHMENTS, AND LEATHERS. London and New York: Seminar Press, 1972.
Roberts, Matt T. and Don Etherington. BOOKBINDING AND THE CARE OF BOOKS: A DICTIONARY OF DESCRIPTIVE TERMINOLOGY. Washington: Library of Congress, 1982.
Salaman, R.A. DICTIONARY OF LEATHER-WORKING TOOLS, c.1700-1950. 2nd. ed. Mendham, N.J.: Astragal Press, 1986.
Waterer, John W. LEATHER CRAFTSMANSHIP. London: George Bell & Sons, 1968.
Thank you, Jeff.
It was a pleasure reading your compilation.