James Reid-Cunningham is a bookbinder and conservator in private practice in Cambridge, MA. He studied history and art history at Johns Hopkins University and Tufts University before studying bookbinding at the North Bennet Street School in Boston. He worked as a book conservator at Harvard University and the Boston Athenaeum for over thirty years. He was the adjunct lecturer in book conservation in the graduate art conservation department at Buffalo State College (SUNY) from 2009 to 2013, and served as the President of the Guild of Book Workers from 2006 to 2010.

In addition to his conservation work, he is the creator of design bindings and book objects that explore traditional bookbinding structures in conjunction with modern materials. He exhibits his books nationally and internationally.

In 2006, he received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the North Bennet Street School. He received the Helen Warren DeGoyler Prize in American Bookbinding in 2018.


James Reid-Cunningham is a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation.

He has taught bookbinding and conservation workshops at many venues including:

Paper and Book Intensive
Garage Annex School for Book Arts in Easthampton, MA.
North Bennet Street School, Boston
Weissman Preservation Center at Harvard University
Guild of Book Workers
New England Museum Association
Dartmouth College Libraries
King Library Press, University of Kentucky at Lexington
Miniature Book Society
San Francisco Center for the Book
Kilgarlin Center for the Preservation of the Cultural Record at the University of Texas at Austin
University of Utah
Hand Bookbinders of California
American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works


Recent lectures and publications:

“Love it or hate it: tanned leather in institutional conservation programs compared to private practice,” American Institute for Conservation of Historic or Artistic Works, Houston, TX (May 29, 2018)

“Artistic Vision in Contemporary Bookbinding,” North Bennet Street School, Boston, MA (November 14, 2017)

“Post-Codex,” Ohio Preservation Council, Columbus, OH (August 4, 2017)

Artistic Bookbinding in the Twenty-First Century,” Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT (June 16, 2016)

“Enigmatic Devices: the Art of Contemporary Bookbinding,” in Elisabeth R. Fairman, The Poet of Them All: William Shakespeare and Miniature Designer Bindings from the Collection of Neale and Margaret Albert, (New Haven, CT.: Yale Center for British Art), 2016, p. 26-54.

“The Art of Contemporary Bookbinding,” Grolier Club, New York, NY (March 23, 2016)


Recent exhibtions:

8th DeGoyler Triennial Exhibition and Competition for American Bookbinding, Bridwell Library, Dallas, TX (2018)

Xtra Small, Museum Meermanno, Den Haag (October 3, 2017 – January 8, 2018)

Heroic Works, Designer Bookbinders Exhibition
Weston Library, Oxford, UK (July 18 - August 20, 2017)
Library of Birmingham, UK (August 23 - September 28, 2017)
St Bride Foundation, London (October 2 - 14, 2017)
North Bennet Street School, Boston (November 23 - December 22, 2017)

The Poet of Them All, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT (June 23, 2016 – August 11 2016)

Body of Evidence, UNISA Art Gallery, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa (April 9 – April 22, 2016)

Brush Up Your Shakespeare: Miniature Designer Bindings, Grolier Club, New York, NY (March 23, 2015 – May 28, 2016)






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