As with history and the Holy Spirit, my call to book binding was the culmination of a series of events that inspired me to learn a craft that helps to spread the word and knowledge of God and the faith and to encourage the love for and preservation of history at the same time.
The French Connection
The story begins along time ago with my mother’s love for the French language. I grew up hearing, and casually learning the French language, and was heavily exposed to all things French. My brother moved to France when I was in middle school, and I continued to study French in high school and college; though I became fluent in French by means of continued exposure, I never had much of a passion for the language or culture nor did I take the study very seriously- God had much bigger plans for this skill than I could have imagined.
The Burkina Connection
I was saved in 2008 and shortly thereafter called to missions in an amazing place full of spiritually strong people call Burkina Faso. I met an amazing pastor through my church: he spoke French and they needed someone to help interpret during his visit. A series of events preceding this introduction and during my time with this pastor led me to believe and feel deeply that I was being called to serve his mission. I worked with him in Burkina Faso for most of 2009 and still help him expand his vision of education and Christian Mission for the impoverished. I made many friends in Burkina, and while empowering them to help themselves and spread the word, I certainly learned more bout God from them than they from me.
The tie in…
Skipping ahead In 2014, I married my best friend and love; we were introduced mainly because she grew up in a country called France. While on our honeymoon, we visited some of the memorable places from her childhood, and spent a good deal of time visiting museums in Paris. Our story continues as my new bride and I left the Musée Jacquemart-André, for there, across the street from the classically beautiful arched exit of the museum was the flag of non other than the Ambassade Du Burkina Faso- Burkina’s Embassy. We had to at least get a photo of me by the door.
We fulfilled our obligation as millennials to take a picture of ourselves by anything we deem relevant or interesting, and snapped a photo by the embassy. As we parted, I noticed a storefront of an historic book dealer. My passion for history and curiosity compelled me to pull wife in for a peak- she happily complied.
Quiet at first, the gentlemen asked if we were looking for anything specific. I replied that we were from the states and on our honeymoon, and I am a lover of history and just had to see their store. “Were are you from in America?” both employees were now more interested and intrigued by our origin as no French person in history as ever been.
“Virginia” I replied.
“Virginia! Amazing! Do you know Appomattox Courthouse?”
A dissertation could be composed with the information necessary to answer what earthly reason a Frenchman in Paris would possibly have for knowing what or where that still sleepy town unknown to most of civilization save for one day in April 1865, was.
“Yes…” I replied. The ellipsis was audible.
“We must show you something!”
My wife and I were intrigued.
Out came the book, which the gentleman explained to we meek Virginians that was not a very uncommon or valuable edition of a widely printed 19th century encyclopedia, save for, we saw as he tilted the spin of the book to reveal a painting laid on the edges of the pages of this French Encyclopedia- a beautiful and stunningly detailed painting of Appomattox Courthouse just after Lee’s Surrender in 1865.
I was, in that instant more interested in the physical aspects and history of books than I ever imagined anyone, let alone myself, could be.
The Family Connection
In my family, we are blessed in many ways; for the past several years, I have been interested in genealogy and in family history, and for a host of reasons, good documentation on our past is one of them.
Family lore has it that one of my ancestors was on the trail of tears with the Creek Indians. He was a missionary who later in life worked to support the Cherokee Indians, and dedicated all his years to spreading the word and helping the less fortunate. I have been searching for documentation on this bit of family history, and found that he was in fact ordained in Kentucky just months before two groups of Cherokee Indians lead by two Baptist ministers marched within 50 miles from where he was ordained- thus the connection thickens…
Here in lies the rub: he graduated from Brown University in 1838 and then left New England to head to backwoods Kentucky. But why on earth would a recent college graduate from a notable family just leave prosperous and bustling New England to go to then backwoods Kentucky?
One line from an anecdotal source explains that this man was originally sent to Kentucky as a publishing agent, but in order to find out what that even meant in the 1830’s and in order to establish a documented connection, a great deal of research was required- and so, only a short time after having seen that amazing work in Paris, I was now researching the publishing process and how books were printed, published and made in the late 18th and early 19th century and the progression of bookmaking techniques and technology.
While researching the complexities of early American publishing, I stumbled across yet another fascinating discovery: the final connection.
Enter James Moore
For a period in my life, my passion for history expressed itself in the form of Civil War reenacting. Though I have not been an active reenactor in quite a while, I never lost my passion for historically authentic living history interpretation. My focus had shifted in recent years to 17th and 18th century colonial America, and as with any millennial, my Facebook stream followed suit. In my quest for immediate 18th century information and while studying early American publishing, I stumbles the 18th Century Bibles Page.
James Moore is a dedicated Christian who has been producing high quality, authentic 18th century bibles for more than a decade, and is well respected amongst a community of 18th century military, civilian and most importantly parson reenactors. These parson reenactors travel nationwide to living history events and trade shows explaining the history of Christianity and showing what the printed word and Christian works were like in Colonial and Revolutionary America.
Seeing this community and the combined interests of History and a love of Jesus, I was immediately inspired to tackle the trade.
I have over many months, spent countless hours on learning and perfecting each step in the binding process, and can now produce a fine quality work worthy of sale. I have made several books in the 18th century style along with many commissioned journals and historic pamphlets and works.
And so, that’s the long version of how I came to bookbinding! I hope that you will take some time to browse the site, and visit the provided resources and links to learn more about history, bookbinding and Jesus! Thank you for your time an interest, and please, share this site on Social Media and with your friends via email.
Oh, and if you would like to commission a book, pamphlet or journal, it certainly wouldn’t hurt my feelings!