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. His artistic bindings are exhibited 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:
National Conservation Center for Rare Books, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China
Recent lectures and publications:
“A Survey of Western Book Structures in Europe, North America and North Africa,” South China Preservation and Conservation Council, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China, (August 29, 2019)
“Why Do I Do This? Reflections of a Life in Books,” Seattle Book Arts Guild, University of Washington at Seattle, (August 1, 2019)
“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)
Bound Together, North Bennet Street School, Boston, MA (March 28 – June 29, 2019)
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
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)