In Memoriam: Mary Greenfield, Was Longtime Book Conservator at Library

Mary E. “Jane” Greenfield, who served for many years as a conservator for the Yale University Library, died at her home in Moultonborough, New Hampshire, on July 20. She was 91.

Greenfield set up the Conservation Studio in Sterling Memorial Library in 1973 and served as a conservator there until her retirement. For two decades, she taught principles of binding and advanced techniques in the graphic design program at the Yale School of Art.

Throughout her career, Greenfield wrote and illustrated a number of books and articles on bookbinding, including “Books: Their Care and Repair,” “The Care of Fine Books” and “ABC of Bookbinding.” A series of articles on notable book bindings she wrote for the Yale University Library Gazette was recently exhibited in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

Born in Hempstead, Long Island, New York, on Dec. 13, 1916, Greenfield attended the School for Applied Design for Women and the Art Students’ League, both in New York City. In 1947, she married Arthur Greenfield, also of Long Island, and moved to Lima, Peru. After eight years in Peru, the couple returned with their two children to the United States, where Greenfield pursued her interest in bookbinding, studying with Paul Banks and Laura S. Young. In 1965, she opened her own bindery, The Greenfield Bindery in New Haven, which she ran until she was invited to set up Yale’s Conservation Studio.

Greenfield joined the Guild of Book Workers in 1981 and became an honorary member in 1991 in recognition of her contributions to the art of the book in America. Her last project was a history of Kent Island on Squam Lake in New Hampshire, where she spent her summers throughout her life.

In addition to her husband of 61 years, Greenfield is survived by her children, Mary and Arthur; her daughter-in-law, Pat; six grandchildren; and an extended family of cousins.

Contributions in her memory may be made to the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, 54 Portsmouth St., Concord, New Hampshire 03301.

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