Historic Sugartown’s Book Bindery was completed in 2001. It houses a world-class collection of bookbinding tools and equipment once owned by the late master bookbinder Fred Shihadeh.
After serving in WWII, Shihadeh apprenticed with a German bookbinder in Bremerhaven, Germany. When he and his German wife Elka returned to the United States, they opened a bookbindery in Ardmore, PA in 1961. Together, they repaired as many as 200-300 books a year for collectors, book dealers and libraries, and were internationally respected for their work, conserving such works as John Audubon’s original prints, The Federalist Papers, and broadsides announcing the Declaration of Independence.
Book binding tool scholar Steve Beare regards the Shihadeh Collection as the largest in the country in terms of signed 19th-century Philadelphia tools.
Today, local bookbinder, Ramon Townsend, of ColonialBindery.com teaches a variety of workshops in our Book Bindery. Courses range from an introduction to the traditional craft of bookbinding, to book restoration and paper marbling.