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Archive of Elizabeth Greenhill


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Two cloth-covered boxes with mostly Elizabeth Greenhill's original designs for bindings of rare books and manuscripts, 1935-1983. Each box with gilt and morocco spine label contains some 50 chronologically ordered and numbered folders that include annotated patterns and letterings with occasional related newspaper cuttings, correspdence and material samples. Each folder is labelled with information about the bound volume: author, title, publication details, previous and current owner, commissioner, designer (if not Elizabeth Greenhill), binding material used, date of binding and exhibition details. The folder numbers correspond with the numbers in Elizabeth Greenhill bookbinder: a catalogue raisonné (Frenich, Foss, Perthshire: K.D. Duval, 1986). Out of the 104 folders, 23 are not present (1, 3, 14, 19, 22, 24, 28, 38, 41, 47, 50, 55, 61, 62, 64, 66, 67, 69, 73, 88, 92, 94 and 98).


  • Creation: 1935-1983


0.45 Linear metres (2 physical shelfmarks)

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. Broxb. adds. b.3].

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Full range of shelfmarks:

Broxb. adds. b. 3/1-3/2

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 12529


Original designs of Elizabeth Greenhill (1907-2006) and others for bindings of rare books and manuscripts, 1935-1983.

Biographical / Historical

Christine Elizabeth Florence Greenhill was born in Paris in 1907 to a family of hoteliers. Greenhill was introduced to bookbinding by Oswald Powell, father of the eminent bookbinder Roger Powell, when at the Bedales School. She then took several art courses in Paris and in London. Having established her own workshop, she went on to become a prominent designer bookbinder and teacher of the art. In 1961 she was the first woman to be elected to the Guild of Contemporary Bookbinders (now Designer Bookbinders), where she also served as honorary secretary and then president. She funded a prize for excellence in gold tooling in the annual Bookbinding Competition. Her work - often on display at national and international exhibitions - included bindings for T.E. Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom, Sigfried Sassoon's The Path to Peace, Albrecht Dürer's The Little Passion, Sir John Rothenstein's British Art since 1900, Hough Honour's Chinoiserie and The Royal Record, Coronation Planting Committee (owned by H.M. The Queen). Greenhill died in 2006, four months short of her 100th birthday.

Custodial History

George Bayntun Fine Bindings and Rare Books (Bath) acquired the designs from Bromer Booksellers (Boston) when they were selling the collection of Philip (or Phillip) Gould of California (?) in 2004. Gould purchased the designs from K.D. Duval and Colin Hamilton, the editors of Elizabeth Greenhill bookbinder: a catalogue raisonné (Frenich, Foss, Perthshire: K.D. Duval, 1986).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from George Bayntun, Bath, in 2009.


Elizabeth Greenhill bookbinder: a catalogue raisonné (Frenich, Foss, Perthshire: K.D. Duval, 1986)
Catalogue of the archive of Elizabeth Greenhill, 1935-1983
Finding aid prepared by Margaret Czepiel
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom