Books Bound by Don Rash

Don Rash began his bookbinding career when he was hired in 1978 to be the bookbinder at the library of Haverford College, outside of Philadelphia. His qualifications consisted of having read some books on the subject and a certain manic enthusiasm. The following year he met the couple who would become his teachers and mentors, Trudi and Fritz Eberhardt. During his eight years at Haverford he took classes from the Eberhardts and attended workshops with Don Guyot, Bernard Middleton, Deborah Evetts and others. He also began a twenty -year working relationship with Bernard Taylor’s Press of Appletree Alley, binding almost all of the titles produced by the Press. In 1986 he left Haverford to begin his career as a self-employed bookbinder.

Since then, he has performed the normal range of work required of hand bookbinders: book repair, Bible bindings, book and document conservation, boxmaking, new bindings. His output of design bindings has been small but relatively steady, and his work has been shown in over twenty exhibitions. Previously represented by Joshua Heller Rare Books, Rash’s design bindings are now seen here under the aegis of Michael J. Osborne Books.

In 2003 Rash established his own private press with the goal of attempting to print works of personal interest on an iron handpress. Since its inception, the Boss Dog Press has produced three titles (Rules for Bookbinders by Fritz Eberhardt, a catalog of Loyd Haberly’s bookbinding tools and Three Lectures by Fritz Eberhardt), with a fourth (Einschlagpapier by James Fraser) on the press at this time (2015).

Wishing to pass on the techniques he learned from the Eberhardts, as well as his own insights garnered over almost four decades at the bench, Rash began teaching under the rubric of The School for Formal Bookbinding in 2007. Six core classes are offered twice a year along with classes addressing various other aspects of hand bookbinding. The School has been most fortunate in its students, whether professionals or serious amateurs; their positive response to its mission of understanding the synergy between technique, structure and function of the well-made book has been encouraging and gratifying.