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What, you may ask is the Guild of Bookworkers? Founded in 1906, it promotes hand binding and all the fields surrounding it. As their statement says: “The Guild still believes, as did its founders, that there is a responsibility among civilized people to sustain the crafts involved with the production of fine books.” They also have a blog! This is the 29th Standards of Excellence Seminar seminar. These are lectures and demonstrations by people in the craft who are at the peak of their abilities. Among them are: Jeff Altepeter, Bookbinding teacher at the North Bennett Street School in ; Ann Frellsen, Preservation Librarian at Emory and former colleague of Lauren Corbett; James Reid-Cunnngham, Chief conservator at the Boston Athenaeum Library; Bill Minter, who invented the ultrasonic encapsulating machine; Dominck Riley, an accomplished English binder, who has also made films on the subject which ZSR has in our collections; and Jesse Meyer Pergamena Parchment, who has appeared on the TV show “Dirtiest Jobs.”
On our first day, we visited a 18th century mission, San Xavier.
This mission was built in the late 1700’s and is currently undergoing a huge restoration. We were able to see a restorer artwork on the altar of the church, which is covered with paintings from the 18th century-painted like frescoes-on the walls.
During the evening, we were guests of the University of Arizona Library Special Collections.
There is a large meeting room, a gallery and a secured reading room with controlled access and several separate consulting/research spaces. I met the director and had a nice discussion around the Philip Smith binding of James Joyces’ Ulysses.
The Special Collections Reading room was decked out with prize bindings, each with a printed catalog record.