The first old books I bought were a 10-volume set of Edgar Allen Poe’s complete works published in 1904. Holding 100-year-old books had me fixated. All the eyes and fingers that must’ve passed over those covers and pages… these were no longer simply vessels for beautiful words, but artifacts in themselves. Last year, when I purchased a tattered, coverless, mildewed 1756 edition of Samuel Johnson’s ‘A Dictionary of the English Language’ for restoration, I felt the same way: in awe of an object that has seen 263 years of humanity swirl around it.
When I completed the San Francisco Center for the Book’s Bookbinding, Restoration, and Leather Core classes starting in 2017, I felt as much creative inspiration as I did a sense of responsibility: my shelves must not be the last ones graced by any book I lay my hands on. No matter the state of wear, disrepair, or neglect, I have the ability - and thus, the responsibility - to ensure that a sorry 263-year-old volume sees its third century; that a family Bible or photo album is not lost simply to time.
While I continue my professional bookbinding and repair studies at the North Bennet Street School in Boston, the collection of books and paper artifacts preserved for future generations of hands and eyes slowly grows. Have a book you'd like to save? Let me know what you've got in mind.