Reconstructing Diderot: Eighteenth-Century French Bookbinding, A lecture in the Brodsky Series

PeacheyJeffrey S. Peachey, a book conservator, independent scholar, and toolmaker, will present an illustrated lecture in the Brodsky Series for the Advancement of Library Conservation series entitled Reconstructing Diderot: Eighteenth-Century French Bookbinding on October 3 at 5 p.m. in the Peter Graham Scholarly Commons on the first floor of Bird Library. The lecture is free and open to the public, with a reception to follow.

In this image-driven, fast-paced overview of eighteenth-century French bookbinding, Peachey will examine the larger questions associated with the history of craft and material culture, the transmission of textual information, and, of course, the history of bookbinding. Book structures of the late eighteenth century represent one of the most radical transformations since the invention of the multi-section codex: by the mid-nineteenth century, the machine-made cloth case binding begins to dominate book structures. Peachey will illustrate the historical context of how these books were made and discuss physical evidence found in documentation by Denis Diderot, René Martin Dudin, and other sources. Peachey will give particular attention to the tools and techniques used to produce these bindings.

On Friday, October 4, Mr. Peachey will lead a daylong workshop on bookbinding. Although the workshop is fully enrolled, you may contact Barbara Brooker at or at 315‐443‐9763 to be placed on the mailing list for next year.

For more than 20 years, Peachey has specialized in the conservation of books and paper artifacts for institutions and individuals in the New York City region and nationally, as the owner of a New York City-based studio for the conservation of books. He is Professional Associate in the American Institute for Conservation, has served as Chair of the Conservators in Private Practice, and was recently awarded the Sherman Fairchild Conservation Research Fellowship at The Morgan Library & Museum. He is the inventor of the Peachey Board Slotting Machine, which is used in conservation labs around the world.


The Brodsky Series for the Advancement of Library Conservation combines a public lecture with a hands-on workshop. Supported by William J. (65, G68) and Joan (67, G68) Brodsky of Chicago, Illinois, the series offers programs that promote and advance knowledge of library conservation theory, practice, and application among wide audiences, both on campus and in the region.

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