The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 8, Number 1a
Feb 1984


Laura Young Retires

From a recent press release:

Laura Young retired at the end of December 1983. Mrs. Young's career spanned a period of 40 years, during which time she was active as a hand bookbinder, conservator and teacher.

She has run a well-equipped and well-organized custom shop in New York City, where she accepted commissions and welcomed private students. A warm welcome always awaited anyone who crossed her threshold.

She has executed a wide variety of commissions, including presentation copies, restoration/conservation of valuable books, protective cases and many items of lesser note. Her clients, or recipients of her work, included foreign and domestic dignitaries, corporate executives, professors, book collectors, lovers and users of specific books, and institutional rare book collections. She never turned a client away because the job did not seem worthy of her abilities; and she seldom lost a client because her prices seemed unreasonable.

Her teaching activities included 15 years in the School of General Studies at Columbia University, along with Gerhard Gerlach, end 15 years in the Graphic Arts Department at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, where she was the Department's first instructor in bookbinding. She organized the first bookbinding class in Yale University's School of Fine Arts, Department of Design, end was its first teacher; she taught short courses in various institutional arts and crafts programs; and she has had a great number of private students.

In addition to her insistence on sound construction and quality materials, she is probably best known to her students for her infinite patience and her attempts to instill in them the importance of executing a job that is appropriate for the book at hand. Over the years she has had more then 500 students; presently she has more former students working in the field professionally than any other teacher in the country.

She served as president of the Guild of Book Workers for 19 years (1949-52, 1958-74), during which time the Guild enjoyed one of its greatest periods of growth and expanded services to its members.

She is the author of a number of articles in the field, and her book Bookbinding and Conservation by Hand: A Working Guide was published by Bowker in 1981.

Jerilyn G. Davis (Jeri), who has worked with Mrs. Young for 19 years, took over the business at the first of the year. She will operate it in her own name from the same address and with the same telephone number.

Jon will continue the thoughtful and careful workmanship which has always been rendered in Mrs. Young's shop. Private students will be welcome and evening instruction will also be offered. The shop will be open the entire year except for vacation periods. For information write or telephone Jerilyn G. Davis, Apt. 2, 601 W. 115th St., New York, NY 10025 (212/864-4330).

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