Brain Pickings Icon
Brain Pickings

Bookbinders: 1961 Documentary Romanticizes Book Craftsmanship

Earlier this week, we took a detour from our intense interest in the evolution of publishing and instead examined its past with a fascinating 1947 documentary on making books. Today, we’re back with some excellent companion viewing: The 1961 documentary Bookbinders, part of the America at Work series by the AFL-CIO, which frames the book production process with enough romanticism to make today’s most notorious “better-nevers” nod along like the bobblehead dogs on the dashboard of a New York cabbie.

Americans at work, in an art that is the preservation of all arts: The making of books. These men are masters of their tools, from the most primitive instruments to the latest equipments of the machine age. With other craftsmen, these are the people who make the pen mightier than the sword.”

For a richer celebration of this vanishing craft, we highly recommend Lark’s 500 Handmade Books: Inspiring Interpretations of a Timeless Form.

Published March 11, 2011




Filed Under

View Full Site

Brain Pickings participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn commissions by linking to Amazon. In more human terms, this means that whenever you buy a book on Amazon from a link on here, I get a small percentage of its price. That helps support Brain Pickings by offsetting a fraction of what it takes to maintain the site, and is very much appreciated