Cobden-Sanderson, T. J. (Thomas James), 1840-1922

Alternative names
Birth 1840-12-02
Death 1922-09-07

Biographical notes:

T.J. Cobden-Sanderson was an English bookbinder, associated with the Arts and Crafts movement. Born in Northumberland, his family travelled extensively; he attended Cambridge, but did not take a degree. His intellectual gifts seemed to fill him with despair, and he read constantly, and was often depressed. He eventually became a barrister in London, where he made several important friends, notably William Morris, who introduced him to Annie Cobden; Sanderson and Annie married, and he changed his name to Cobden-Sanderson out of respect for her father, the radical politician Richard Cobden. Under these new influences, inspired by the arts and crafts movement, he threw himself into bookbinding, and later co-founded The Doves Press. In both his individual binding and his printing endeavors, Cobden-Sanderson found success and satisfaction.

From the description of T.J. Cobden-Sanderson letter to Miss Dodge, 1904 July 20. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 81274881

English bookbinder.

From the description of Autograph letter signed : Hammersmith, to F.L. Poynder, 1906 May 15. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270899270

British printer (Doves Press) and bookbinder.

From the description of Cobden-Sanderson papers, 1866-1922. (Smith College). WorldCat record id: 53876769

Thomas J. Cobden-Sanderson (1840–1922) was an English bookbinder and printer. Through his association and friendship with William Morris and his wife Jane, Cobden-Sanderson became interested in the Arts and Crafts movement and in the art of bookbinding. He studied at the workshop of Roger de Coverley and, in 1884, established his own bookbinding workshop. In 1900, he began printing books at the Doves Press. The press closed in 1917 (ONDB).

From the guide to the Thomas J. Cobden-Sanderson Letter (MS 140), 1915, (University of Colorado at Boulder Libraries. Special Collections Dept.)

Thomas James Cobden-Sanderson (2 December 1840-7 September 1922) was an English artist, printer, and bookbinder associated with the Arts and Crafts movement. He was born Thomas James Sanderson, but when he married Julia Sarah Anne Cobden (1853-1926) in 1882, they both took the surname Cobden-Sanderson. They had two children, Richard (1884-1964) and Stella (1886-1979). In 1884, at the encouragement of William and Jane Morris, Cobden-Sanderson took up bookbinding. In 1900, he went into partnership with Emery Walker and founded the Doves Press in Hammersmith, London. The press produced all of its books, using a single size of type, between 1900 and 1916. The type, known as "The Doves Type," was based on types used by Nicolas Jenson from the 1470s. The type, punches, and matrices were destroyed by Cobden-Sanderson when he took them to Hammersmith Bridge and threw them into the Thames.

Norman H. Strouse (1906-1993) was the head of the J. Walter Thompson Co. advertising agency and a noted book collector. He and his wife Charlotte lived in St. Helena, California, where he amassed an internationally known rare book collection that included illuminated manuscripts from the 12th to 16th centuries.

Harold Peirce (1856-1932) was a noted private press collector from Philadelphia.

From the description of T.J. Cobden-Sanderson papers : and other materials, 1874-1984 (bulk 1884-1922). (University of California, Berkeley). WorldCat record id: 215014114


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  • Book collectors
  • Doves Press
  • Printers--Biography--Sources
  • Bookbinders--Biography--Sources
  • Printing--History--20th century
  • Fine books
  • Private presses
  • Printers
  • Bookbinding--History--20th century
  • Bookbinders
  • Bookbinding--History--19th century
  • Bookbinding
  • Women--Suffrage
  • Bookbinders--Correspondence
  • Printing--History--19th century


  • Binder
  • Printer


  • England--London (as recorded)
  • Great Britain (as recorded)
  • England (as recorded)
  • England (as recorded)
  • England (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • England (as recorded)