When visiting New York City in 1992 Chase stayed with his friend, Michael Zimmer in the village. Michael's grandfather, Hugo von Hofmannstahl, had given Michael's mother an immense library of books, many in terrible condition. A first edition of Milton's Paradise Lost, for example, was in tatters. But Chase was fascinated by the earliest books in the collection (from the 1500's) and especially a very moving carpenter's manual from the middle 1800's which recorded the man's tragic life. He took the books back to San Francisco and photographed them for a year, creating the Bookbinder Series.