Pierre Ouvrard Bindings

Over the course of a long and illustrious career, Pierre Ouvrard (1929–2008) established himself as a master bookbinder and a distinct creative voice in Canadian arts and crafts. Ouvrard was born in Quebec City and was inspired to pursue a career as a craftsman following an exhibition of woodworking and bookbinding that he visited with his father when he was thirteen. Ouvrard worked in the binding department at the Montreal Gazette and as a library bookbinder before focusing on public and private commissions for unique artistic bindings. He eventually established his own workshop in Saint-Paul-de-l'Île-aux-Noix in Quebec where he continued to produce the artistic bindings for which he is best known. This largely archival collection was acquired by University of Alberta Library in 1998; it contains preparatory sketches, proofs and material samples that show Ouvrard’s creative process, as well as business records related to his commissions. It also includes a large number of photographic negatives and prints, correspondence, personal documents, newspaper clippings, and more than 100 volumes collected by Ouvrard. Of particular importance are the archival records relating to the series of book bindings and protective cases Ouvrard was commissioned to create for winners of the Governor General’s Literary Awards. Ouvrard created these unique editions for some of Canada’s most famous writers, including Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, and Alice Munro. Link to the library's online exhibition here.

The rare books/bindings in this collection are housed in Bruce Peel Special Collections, and, although they are uncatalogued, access can be arranged by contacting us. The archival records are housed in University of Alberta Archives (2013-048; 2016-025) and there will soon be an online finding aid available, but access can be arranged in the meantime by contacting the Archives.

Collection Formats: Art Work, Books, Correspondence, Manuscripts, Photographs -- click to see other collections with this format