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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.


It was hot, so many like Richard Spelker, from California, donned appropriate attire.

During the evening, we were guests of the University of Arizona Library Special Collections.

The Special Collections unit has a large space Lynn (and the entire ZSR Special Collections Team) would love.

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.

What follows is a few images of these bindings from U of A Special Collections: