Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Warwick Press's "Gypsy Bookbinder"

In December of 2000 the University of Massachusetts Amherst marked the acquisition of its three millionth volume, chosen to be James Baldwin's Gypsy & Other Poems. The volume was published in 1989 by Leonard Baskin's Gehenna Press in Northampton, Massachusetts. One of the speakers at the celebratory event was bookbinder and book conservator Daniel Gehnrich, hand binder of the Baldwin edition.

I sat in the audience and listened as Daniel told the tale of his first meeting with Leonard Baskin, and as he spoke of the growing friendship between he and his wife Babette, and the Baskins, I knew I wanted to publish the text of the talk. Good things take time to produce and life often gets in the way of the best made plans. But this funny and joyful account of the Gehnrichs, their long journey to western Massachusetts and the bindings of the Gypsy edition, is well worth waiting for.

Daniel Gehnrich completed a three-year apprenticeship in bookbinding and conservation in Berlin before returning to the States in 1985 to work for David Bourbeau (The Thistle Bindery), Gray Parrot, and The Morgan Library. He later established his own business in New Haven, moved on to Worcester, and now lives and works in Paxton, Massachusetts, hence the aptly titled, Gypsy Bookbinder. Daniel excels in the restoration and repair of books and paper items. He is highly sought after for his unique skills and creative expertise.

Eighty copies were designed, letterpress printed and hand bound by Carol J. Blinn using a snazzy Thai red/black paper for the soft cover binding. Each book has a tipped-in original paste paper sample made by Daniel, a digitally reproduced photo of Daniel with Arno Werner and a photo of the Baldwin book. The typeface is Joanna and the paper is Biblio. The twenty-five page book measures five by seven and one-half inches high. Daniel has bound several hors commerce copies in full leather. Signed.

$100.00 (Ten percent of the purchase price of this volume will be donated to the Red Cross for hurricane relief.)

See some images from the book or obtain further information at the Warwick Press website:
http://www.warwickpress.com/inner/gypsy.htm