Reconstructing Diderot: Eighteenth-Century French Bookbinding


Jeffrey Peachy

Streaming Media

Document Type





Jeffrey Peachy, conservation, preservation, Brodsky Series, bookbinding, book conservation




Archival Science | Art and Materials Conservation | Art Practice | Book and Paper | Library and Information Science


Jeffrey S. Peachey, a book conservator, independent scholar, and toolmaker, presented an illustrated lecture in the Brodsky Series for the Advancement of Library Conservation series entitled “Reconstructing Diderot: Eighteenth-Century French Bookbinding.” In this image-driven, fast-paced overview of eighteenth-century French bookbinding, Peachey examined 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 illustrated the historical context of how these books were made and discussed physical evidence found in documentation by Denis Diderot, René Martin Dudin, and other sources. Peachey gave particular attention to the tools and techniques used to produce these bindings. Peachey also lead a daylong workshop on bookbinding.

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.

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