It was with sadness that I took notice today of the passing of Dietmar Klein 10/14/1943 - 2/22/2024), the bookbinding Meister I apprenticed under, in posts shared on social media. As almost always happens in moments like this, one reflects on the impact of that person on ones life, and in this case career.
Working in the Conservation and Preservation as a work-study student while at Johns Hopkins and then interning at the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg inspired me to embrace bookbinding and conservation as a career. As my time as a college student was winding down, I escaped campus (and some exams) to interview at the three binderies in Germany that responded to my query about apprenticing. Ones of those was the Kunstbuchbinderei Dietmar Klein located in Künstlersiedlung Halfmannshof, an artists' colony in the heart of Germany's industrial heartland of the Ruhr Valley. that alone was enough to entice me to accept their offer to apprentice. I described the adventure of getting there, and my experiences as an apprentice in "The Ponderings of a Bookbinding Student- Part 2".
|Me between my Meister Dietmar Klein and his wife Regina Klein
at my Lossprechung in July of 1987. The Lossprechung marked
the successful completion of my apprenticeship. Frau Klein would
receive her Meister shortly after.
|The whole crew in my final year: Me, the other apprentice Nicole,
the Meister, and the Gesellin (soon to be Meisterin).
Photo: Ruhr Nachrichten, 9 December,1986.
|The Meister in his happy place doing gold finishing.
|Kleins visiting me at Syracuse University Libraries in 2009.
They were on a big USA trip ...
Note the Bonefolder caps we are all wearing.
Thank you Herr Klein for all that you taught me. You helped me become who I am (and prove that I was better than my apprenticeship grade).
His family are in my thoughts.