“Along with his wife, Elsie, Mr. Schnerb made a living repairing and binding dissertations, scores and other reading material. This day, he was working on a copy of ‘La Fanciulla del West’ because a conductor had asked him to rebind three poorly bound scores, one for each act, into a single document.
“Mr. Schnerb began by ripping the old books apart, “unbinding” them, as he calls the process, while trying to keep the pages intact. But inevitably, some pages got torn, which was why he was repairing them with thin paper strips.
“Since the death of his wife last year, Mr. Schnerb has been doing everything in the bindery by himself. His wife used to stitch together different sections of manuscripts using a sewing machine, but Mr. Schnerb never learned to operate the machine, so he resorts to needle and thread.”
As an Age Recedes, a Craftsman Soldiers On, by Raphael Ahren, NYT, December 30, 2007
I had a friend’s dissertation rebound by an artist bookbinder here in LA and, man, it’s a thing of beauty, never mind what’s in it (immunotoxicology, if you must know). But she only takes a few commissions a year and only the ones she likes, so I was lucky she took this one.