You who long for my little books to be with you everywhere and want to have companions for a long journey, buy these ones which parchment confines within small pages: give your scroll-cases to the great authors – one hand can hold me. So that you are not ignorant of where I am on sale, and don’t wander aimlessly through the whole city, I will be your guide and you will be certain: look for Secundus, the freedman of learned Lucensis, behind the threshold of the Temple of Peace and the Forum of Pallas.” 

MARTIAL, FIRST CENTURY AD, HIS TESTAMENT IN PRAISE OF THE NEW ROMAN INVENTION, THE BOOK

In 1977, a young undergraduate attending The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA needed a job to pay for his education. Directed to go to Colonial Williamsburg for work, he lucked up on a position in the book bindery. He was taken under the wing of Master and Journeymen bookbinders, studying traditional bookbinding methods for several years. This young man was Ramon Townsend.

After leaving the bindery, for years Ramon made handbound diaries as gifts for friends and family, and repaired their books. In 2012 Ramon and his daughter Danielle decided to turn his passion into a vocation. “I’ve loved this work since my first day on the job at CW.” Here at Colonial Bindery we take pride in the craft’s traditions and work to make sure our books do not fall short of what the Masters and Journeymen taught Ramon decades ago.


Ten Wonderful Things About Craftwork 

  1. Take seemingly unrelated raw materials and create order and beauty from chaos
  2. Anyone can do it. Just need equal parts patience, curiosity, organization, vision
  3. Craftsfolk innovate, improvise, invent
  4. Lifetime of creativity
  5. You learn to overcome obstacles and mistakes 
  6. Teach your craft and know the joy of inspiring others by passing it on to them
  7. Return a finished project and know the joy of pleasing another
  8. Always personally and spiritually fulfilling 
  9. Study your craft’s history, be part of its present, and preserve its future 
  10. When you’re finished you get to sit back, admire your work, smile, and say “I did a great job.”