Skip to main content
Grolier Club Exhibitions

Jeffrey Stikeman

At my very first antiquarian book fair, I screwed up the nerve to take a random book from a shelf. Opening it, I was shocked to see my own last name stamped on the binding…and thereby discovered that my family were art bookbinders at the end of the 19th century, during the golden age of New York bookbinding and collecting. It was a revelation to me that books could also be beautiful objects, and that bindings could not merely protect books, but that they could celebrate them.

Soon after, I visited a rare book dealer. Could he tell me anything about the binders, Stikeman & Company, of New York? It so happened he could: he had two examples in his shop, and another in his collection. I deduced from this good fortune that their bindings must abound! I was wrong.

It took me thirty years to find one of those bindings again, after he'd sold it to another collector.  I acquired it the very week in 2020 when I was elected to membership in the Grolier Club, for whose founding members my family had bound those books more than a hundred years before.