Bookbinding in America in the 19th Century

A Special One Day Seminar at North Bennet Street School:

Bookbinding in America
in the 19th Century

Saturday, April 30, 2011, 8:30am-4:30pm
North Bennet Street School, Boston
Todd Pattison


In 1800, most bookbinders worked in small shops consisting of a handful of workers and bound a wide range of materials. By 1900, bookbinding had become specialized and included individual artists working on elaborate leather bindings, large factories with hundreds of workers churning out mass-produced books and (for the first time) amateur binders learning the craft from commonly available bookbinding manuals.

This workshop examines the history of bookbinding in the 19th century, arguably the most dynamic time in the binding industry in the last 500 years. Although we discuss the two most important developments in 19th century bookbinding — the transition to case binding and the introduction of cloth as a binding material – all aspects of bookbinding establishments, book structures, materials, and binding equipment is examined.

Special emphasis is placed on important individuals throughout the century, rare or unusual bindings, elements of decoration, binding styles and the bibliographic significance of the 19th century binding.

New England GBW member Todd Pattison studied bookbinding with Fred Jordan in New York state in the  1970s and 1980s and continued his studies with Hugo Peller and Edwin Heim in Ascona, Switzerland. He has an Art History degree from Nazareth College and a Masters in Library Science from the University of Alabama. Todd was senior book conservator at the Northeast Document Conservation Center for nineteen years and begins as the Harvard College Library Collections Conservator in September 2010.

Registration for this and many other workshops is available at or by contacting the director of continuing education, Megan Kenealy, at 617-227-0155 or


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