An ‘American’ bindery in the Crimea

Posted on 15th July 2015 by simonbeattie

Sometimes a book ends up posing questions which you, as a bookseller, simply cannot answer.  I enjoy the research aspects of what I do, but I recognise that I cannot know everything, and also that the books I offer for sale must provide further possibilities for research for the customer, whether private collector or special collections library.  Here is an example:


This binder’s stamp is at the back of a standard nineteenth-century Russian binding on a standard nineteenth-century edition of Koltsov’s poems, and reads: ‘American binding workshop.  James Steinsberg [“Dzhems Shteinsberg”], Simferopol, Politseiskaya St.’  I can find nothing on him, or his bindery.  Was a Russian binder simply calling his bindery ‘American’, and using an American-sounding name?  Whatever the answer, it’s a fascinating piece of cross-cultural evidence, and certainly worthy of further research.

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