Birdsall Collection of Bookbinders' Finishing Tools / Emrys Evans & Rachel Grover

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Birdsall Collection of Bookbinders' Finishing Tools / Emrys Evans & Rachel Grover

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        The Birdsall collection of bookbinders' finishing tools was acquired by the Rare Books Department at the University of Toronto in 1968. The Birdsall collection was started when William Birdsall purchased the bookbinding business of John Lacy and Son in Northampton, England, in 1792. The new establishment consisted of a bindery, a book store, a circulating library, a post office and insurance and banking were transacted on the side. William brought his sons, James and Robert, into the business in 1823 and by 1826 James was the sole owner since his brother and father had both died. In the 1840's Anthony, a great-nephew of the founder William, bought the business and his son Richard entered the business in 1857. Anthony died in 1893 and Richard continued the business under the name of Birdsall & Son. The firm became a private company after 1915 when the descendants of Anthony and Richard took over the firm. Each successive generation expanded on the collection of tools and styles of bookbinding with developing interests in preservation, restoration and the history of books and bookbinding. The University of Toronto acquired the collection when the last member of the Birdsall firm died leaving behind the firm's vast collection of bookbinding tools and paperwork. (Taken from: Evans, Emrys and Rachel Grover. Birdsall Collection of Bookbinders' Finishing Tools. Toronto: Department of Rare Books & Special Collections, 1972.)


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