The Art of Bookbinding: A Practical Treatise




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London: George Bell and Sons


Joseph William Zaehnsdorf’s bookbinding apprenticeship in Cologne came to a premature end due to the beginning of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870 and he returned to England to finish his apprenticeship under the expert tutelage of his father, Joseph. Throughout his career the younger Zaehnsdorf (1853-1930) wrote extensively on the practice of bookbinding. His treatise The Art of Bookbinding, first published in 1880, was the first English handbook of its kind and went through many editions. The Arts and Crafts Movement that began at the end of the 19th century sparked further interest in the craft of bookbinding and it was considered to be an acceptable hobby, even for women. Zaehnsdorf’s offered informal classes in bookbinding and in 1893 the first official classes in the craft were offered at a London polytechnic.


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Joseph W. Zaehnsdorf, “The Art of Bookbinding: A Practical Treatise,” | OUR Heritage, accessed April 18, 2024,