The Guild of Women-Binders of London

Binding by Miss Gaskell
Binding by Miss Gaskell

The Guild of Women-Binders was founded by Frank Karslake (who also founded The Hampstead Bindery) in 1898. It operated until 1904 as a loosely-knit federation of women binders from such groups as the Edinburgh Social Union, the Kirkby Lonsdale Handicraft Class, the Chiswick Art Workers’ Guild, and Miss Bassett’s Leighton Buzzard Handicraft Class for crippled girls, among others. Some of the more outstanding women binders represented by the Guild included Miss Constance Karslake, Miss Edith de Rheims, Florence de Rheims, Miss Helen Schofield, Mrs. Frances Knight, Mrs. Macdonald, Miss Lilian Overton, Miss Gaskell and Miss Edwards. The Guild, together with its counterpart, The Hampstead Bindery, published The Bookbindings of To-morrow in 1902, and held both exhibitions and sales of their bindings at Sotheby’s. It is interesting to note that Mosher copied a Karslake binding design for the design he employed on bindings in the Ideal Series of Little Masterpieces.

"The Germ" in the Bishop Collection
“The Germ” in the Bishop Collection

Several copies of Mosher’s edition of The Germ have been located in Guild of Women-Binders bindings. In particular, one is located at Arizona State University and another is located in the Bishop Collection. Other Guild bindings on Mosher’s edition of The Germ are listed in the “Catalogue of Bindings by the Guild of Women-Binders and the Hampstead Bindery for which the Silver Medal was awarded at the Paris Exhibition, 1900” printed by Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge for their December 10, 1900 sale, entries No. 20-22. The Guild also did a number of bindings for other Mosher books, like his 1896 Rubaiyat from the Bibelot Series.