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Collection Occupational Folklife Project

Commercial Bookbinders

In 2017, Jeanne Drewes, Chief of the Library of Congress’s Binding & Collections Care Division, undertook an independent oral history project as part of the Occupational Folklife Project to document the occupational trade and work-related experiences of professional bookbinders. Over the course of a year, she interviewed 26 bookbinders throughout the United States. She explored how the binders and book preservation professionals were trained, documented the histories of individual binderies, traced intertwined firm histories, and encouraged interviewees to discuss how the binders’ occupation and the preservation of books have changed over the years. Many of the interviews were conducted at professional library meetings and conferences.

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