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
University of California at Los Angeles
Weissman Preservation Center, Harvard University
Paper and Book Intensive
Garage Annex School for Book Arts, Easthampton, MA.
North Bennet Street School, Boston
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:

“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)


Recent exhibtions:

Books on the Verge, The Gallery @ Metro, Bridgeport, CT. (November 12, 2021 – January 15, 2022)

Eliot's Bible: Celebrating 100 Years of the Vining Collection, Barrington Arts Center, Gordon College, Wenham MA (September 28 - December 9, 2021)

American Bookbinders Museum, San Francisco, CA (June 2, 2021 - August 7, 2021)
Robert C. Williams Museum of Papermaking, Atlanta, GA (September 3, 2021 - December 7, 2021)
North Bennet Street School, Boston, MA (January 7, 2022 - February 2022)
Collins Memorial Library, University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA (February 21, 2022 - April 22, 2022)
Cushing Memorial Library, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX (May 2, 2022 - June 24, 2022)

40 Years: Celebrating the New England Chapter of the Guild of Book Workers:
The Boston Athenaeum (May 15 - August 7, 2021)
Baker Berry Library, Dartmouth College, Hanover NH (September 1 – November 16, 2021)

Drop Dead Gorgeous:
Minnesota Center for the Book (January 21 - May 9, 2021)
Maggs Bros., London (May 28 – June 18, 2021)

Open/Set 2020:
The Grolier Club, New York (February 19 – April 25, 2020)
The American Bookbinders Museum (San Francisco, May 15 – July 10, 2020)
Marriot Library, University of Utah (Salt Lake City, July 31 – October 2, 2020)
Austin Public Library, Austin, TX (October 13 – December 2, 2020)








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