- 1840-1961 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
Name of creator
The firm began in 1792 when William Birdsall purchased the small bookbinding business of John Lacy in Northampton, England. In the 1840's, Anthony Birdsall, great-nephew of the founder, bought the business and with his son, Richard, made it into one of the better known firms in the trade. The firm did the standard bindings which the general public requested as well as specializing in relieures-de-luxe and restoration work. Business continued to thrive until after the Second World War. When the factory closed its doors in 1961, it was the olderst firm in Northampton, with an international reputation for fine binding and restoration work. In 1968 the University of Toronto Library was able to purchase from Anthony Birdsall, 1877-1972, the last head of the firm, a collection of over 3,000 finishing tools. These are in constant use in the Rare Book Library Bindery, and have been described in 'The Birdsall Collection of Bookbinder's Finishing Tools', a pamphlet published by the University Library in 1972. Mr. Birdsall also gave the Library the Birdsall Book of Rubbings.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
This collection was acquired by purchase for the Thomas Fisher Library in 1983, 1991, and 1994.
Content and structure area
Scope and content
A collection of photographs and rubbings of bindings, tool designs, tooling patterns, designs, and drawings executed by the firm of Birdsall and Son, Northampton, England, from the 1840's to 1961.
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
System of arrangement
Conditions of access and use area
Conditions governing access
Material may be requested in person at the Fisher Library Reference Desk, or in advance using our online stack retrieval request form: https://fisher.library.utoronto.ca/stack-retrieval-request.
Conditions governing reproduction
Language of material