Tag: Germany

Thursday Doors: Door of Books, Monastery Hill Bindery

The awesome Norm at Norm 2.0 has a fun weekly feature where he invites fellow bloggers to share unique doors we happen to find on our travels.

I literally stumbled upon the door you see in the above photo.  I hadn’t planned on walking in this particular area.  However, I decided to go a little bit farther on my walk when I saw this incredibly interesting door.

At first I thought, gee, this is an interesting poster of books set against the door.  However, after doing some research I discovered this building houses the “Monastery Hill Bindery” (I do believe the books are real)!

Ernst Hertzberg was a young child in Germany in the mid-1800’s when he used to play among the ruins of an old monastery.  Interested in the book binding and scribing that used to take place at the monastery, Ernst pursued bookbinding as a career.

When he and his family immigrated to the United States in the late-1800’s, Ernst obtained a position with Ringer Book Bindery in Chicago.  In 1902 the company moved to the location of the building in my photo.  Eventually Ernst was able to afford the business and named it the “Monastery Hill Bindery”, which was in recognition of the inspiration he gained from his early interest in monastery book binding.

Ernst was able to afford the purchase of the company in part because of an incredible book binding project he completed.  After purchasing over 150 letters between Napoleon Bonaparte and his generals, friends, and dignitaries, Ernst bound them (including maps of Napoleon’s battle plans, and over 4,000 copper and steel engravings of significant events, people, and places in Napoleon’s life) into a magnificent set of books.  Today this collection is worth approximately $300,000.

Fast-forward to present day; the company no longer binds books but manufactures luxury items for high-end hotels and restaurants.  I am so grateful to have found this door because it enabled me to read about the fascinating history behind the door (literally and figuratively).  Oh, I must tell you that I read that a lot of the old bookbinding machines are still used today for creating products (guest services lists, restaurant menus).

Be sure to keep noticing doors; you never know what you might find, and in my case, finding a door that lead to bookbinding!


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