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John F. Grabau Selected formulas for book-binding


Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Delaware Library Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

John Frederick Grabau was born in Wisconsin in 1878. He trained as an artistic bookbinder, apprenticing in the printing shop of Gies & Co. and at Peter Paul’s bookbindery. In 1902, Grabau became the protégé of Louis H. Kinder at the Roycroft community bindery. Kinder founded the Roycroft Bindery in 1896 and attracted many talented young artists, including Grabau, Harry Avery, and Charles Youngers. The Roycroft community produced some of the finest hand-crafted books, furniture, lamps and metalwork of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Grabau left Roycroft in 1905 to found the Derome Bindery in Buffalo, New York. He named the bindery after Nicolas Derome, who was noted for his dentelle borders. Grabau died in Aurora, New York, in 1948.

This manuscript may have been compiled by Grabau as a reference to use in his new bindery, as the first section contains selected formulas from his mentor’s book, while the latter part is mainly concerned with the various processes involved in binding.

Via, Marie and Marjorie B. Searl. Head, Heart and Hand: Elbert Hubbard and the Roycrofters. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 1994.American Bookbinders Museum “Grabau, John F. (Buffalo, NY) (accessed July 28, 2017) Arts and Crafts Society, “The Roycroft Community” (accessed July 28, 2017) Rare Book Room, “John F. Grabau Bookbinding Specimen” (accessed July 28, 2017) derived from the collection.

Selected Formulas for Book-binding is a manuscript volume of bookbinding instructions created by bookbinder John F. Grabau of Buffalo, New York, in 1906.

This manuscript text contains a selection of formulae from Louis Kinder’s

Formulas for Bookbinders as well as a section by Grabau titled “A Guide to the Binding of Books, with a few Suggestions.” The first twenty-one pages of the volume contain formulas selected from Kinder’s work and are entitled “Formulas for Sizes, Fillers, etc. by L.H. Kinder.” This section includes formulas for various glairs, shellacs, glues, pomades, and fillers. Beginning on page twenty-three, Grabau recorded his own instructions on the various processes involved in bookbinding. Grabau included instructions on mending books, creating flyleaves and pastedowns, sewing signatures, and binding with various materials. On the final page of the volume, Grabau made a sketch of an open book and wrote “The End.” He signed this page “John F. Grabau/Buffalo, May 1906.” Grabau included a handwritten index at the end of the volume.

This volume is bound in half crimson morocco leather with marbled boards and contains a crimson ribbon marker. The title is in gilt on the spine. The pastedowns and flyleaves are marbled. The title page reads “Selected Formulas for/Book-binding/with a guide to the binding of individual/books in Moroccos and Levants/by/John F. Grabau/Buffalo, N.Y./1906.” The volume contains thirty-six leaves of unlined wove paper with handwritten text in black ink on thirty-five pages.

Item 0036: Shelved in SPEC MSS 0095 vault

Purchase, January 2017

Processed and encoded by Elizabeth Jones-Minsinger, July 2017.

University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2017 July 28
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce isrequired from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library,

Collection Inventory

John F. Grabau Selected formulas for book-binding, 1906.
Item 0036
Physical Description

1 volume

Print, Suggest