Gottlieb Grimm was originally from Bottingen in the Kingdom of Württemberg, Germany. He was born in 1831 and learned the craft of bookbinding from his father, Gelasius Grimm. He immigrated to America in 1849 and settled in Madison, WI in 1850 where he began his life as a Bookbinder. It is reported that Gottlieb bound the first book ever in Madison. The book was actually a collection of back issues of Graham’s Magazine, which Madison banker Simeon Mills had saved and wanted bound. As a side note, Gottlieb was also a founding member of the Madison Maennerchor, a German singing society started in 1852 which patterned after the similar groups in the “old country.
In 1855 Gottlieb joined with Daniel Maul to found the “Madison New Book Bindery,” however they sold it to Atwood, Calkins and Webb in 1857 (which were actually the owners of the local paper, Wisconsin State Journal). Gottlieb remained with the firm as a supervisor until 1860 at which time he joined BW Suckow’s Bindery as foreman. In 1874 he bought the bindery from it’s current owner and named it Grimm Book Bindery, Inc. It’s been in the family since that time. That’s over 165 years in business and run by Gottlieb’s family over 145 years!
Since then, the Grimm Book Bindery along with the traditional binding trade learned in Germany, has been passed through each generation growing up in and around book binding. In 1893, Gottlieb took his son, John J. Grimm, in as a partner. A generation later, John J. was joined by his three sons, John P., Henry G. and Francis W. as owners of the Grimm Book Bindery. Again, in the following generation, Henry G. was joined by his sons Henry G., Jr. (“Bud”) and John J. Grimm. Today, Bud’s children, William J. Grimm and Judith G. Stair run Grimm Book Bindery, Inc.
The employees of Grimm Book Bindery are like a close knit family in themselves. Regular workers have years of experience with an average of over 23 years employment with the company. During the summer busy season (brought on by textbook or library rebinds needed while schools are closed) we hire teachers and personnel from schools to help out. They then return year after year so we have fully experienced workers during the busy season as well. These summer workers have been with the company for almost 8 years on average. So, you can trust that your treasured books will be in experienced hands when at the bindery!