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Re: Storing Paper -- related topic



The following is a Letter to the Editor of the ABBEY NESLETTER:

Dear Ellen,
A few months ago, I received a call from the Pennsylvania Heritage
Preservation Commission. The caller stated that they had a box of new
paperback books that had covers that were stained and they wanted to get them
clean. The book, HISTORIC RESOURCE STUDY -- CAMBRIA IRON COMPANY was
published by the National Park Service in 1989. As you would suspect, it was
impossible to give any recommendation about removing the stain without first
seeing the books. Upon receiving a copy, I saw a subtle yellow/brown stain
that appeared in various areas of the cover. With my trusty Abbey pH Pen, I
checked the cover paper and it was acid-free; the actual pH was 7.7. The
text, however, was acidic; it measured pH 4.5 using the Merck strips. Further
conversation and an eventual visit revealed that all of the books were
stained where they had been in direct contact with the corrugated box. The pH
of the box was 4.5 which I would assume to be normal. The books and the box
had been stored in a warehouse in Johnstown, PA.
Have you ever seen or heard of this type of problem? Does it only occur with
acid-free covers? Is there a way to prevent this type of damage? Should we be
concerned about temporary storage of acid-free books in an acidic box? Would
wrapping in acid-free paper prevent the problem? What about shrink-wrapping
for temporary storage?
It sure seems a shame that these books were damaged in such a relatively
short period of time.

Bill Minter
William Minter Bookbinding & Conservation, Inc.
4364 Woodbury Pike
Woodbury, PA   16695
814-793-4020
fax 814-793-4045

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