The American Bookbinders Museum

I have an insatiable curiosity. I often follow a random trail of websites on the internet until I find myself bleary-eyed at one or two in the morning. Last night it was worth it (and I can’t even remember how I got there).

I discovered the existence of The American Bookbinders Museum. How was I not aware of this sooner? The museum is located in San Francisco, California and is open by appointment only. They do not charge any admission (generous souls!).

From their website:

The American Bookbinders Museum began as the private collection of equipment and publications held by Taurus Bookbinding of San Francisco. In 2006, the collection outgrew the modest bindery and so the museum was created and was moved to a new location that allows the public to view the collection.

Unfortunately, the museum’s website is a bit lacking in details about specific exhibits. It looks like they do have an interesting selection of equipment, documents, and artifacts – you can view some of these on their website.

After a bit of research, I was able to find the following information on the website of The Society of American Archivists:

The American Bookbinders Museum focuses on trade bookbinding of the nineteenth century by preserving the equipment and the practical information about the craft as it transitioned from hand bookbinding to industrial bookmaking. This was an especially rich period in the development of United States, and the museum hopes to provide exhibits that delineate not only the craft of bookbinding during the Industrial Revolution, but also its impact on the publishing industry and its consequent social effects on literacy and education in the United States.

There are no other museums in the United States focused on this period of bookbinding and publishing in American history. In the past few decades, scholarly interest in the nineteenth-century book and the history of reading has risen sharply. Eventually the museum will also encompass a research library that will include documents on the trade that will be available to the public and scholars of reading and publishing. Originally a private collection, this small but attractive museum is newly established and in the process of widening its holdings.

Basically, this sounds like the coolest place ever. And I’m going on vacation to San Francisco this summer.

I am so there.

So what do you think? I'd love to know!

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