Date: 10 Mar 2008
From: Ellen Cunningham-Kruppa <e.cunnk [at] mail__utexas__edu>
Subject: A death
Ellen Ruth McCrady
Age 81, died March 5, 2008.
She was born in 1926 to Archie and Gladys (Burnett) McCrady. She
graduated from the University of Michigan and later did graduate
work in library science and book preservation at Michigan and
Columbia Universities. Ellen had an adventurous spirit, and long
wanted to explore the Mississippi River. In 1951, she recruited
companions to help construct a raft from oil drums and scrap lumber,
and they floated down the river from Pittsburgh to New Orleans.
For several years, she operated the Academy Book Bindery in Dexter
and Ann Arbor, binding journals and restoring old books. When
research made it clear that a large portion of the paper produced
after the beginning of the 19th century was deteriorating at an
alarming rate because of the acid residue from the manufacturing
process, she launched a crusade to persuade paper manufacturers to
change their practices so as to leave an alkaline buffer in the
paper. She invented and distributed widely a simple device which
enabled librarians and archivists to test the paper in their
collections and identify the ones which urgently needed remedial
She also wrote and published the "Alkaline Paper Advocate"
(1984-1997), a publication designed for users and makers of alkaline
paper. And, late in her life, she became active in the fight against
toxic mold and produced a newsletter entitled the Mold Reporter. She
worked for the UM library bindery and later at the National
Archives, the Library of Congress, and Brigham Young University.
From 1975 until 2004, she published the Abbey Newsletter, which
reached a circulation of 1,000 and circulated in over 40 countries.
It was recognized as an important venue for sharing research about
book and paper conservation. According to Carl Mendoza, Vice
President of Crocker Technical Papers, Fitchburg, Massachusetts:
"Ellen had a profound effect on our path and how we chose to do
business. Her role as the Guardian Angel with a Martin Luther-like
approach inspired us to take notice. Her theses affected the world
of conservation and preservation more than most might know. The
research she inspired has had its effect on all forms of
conservation and preservation from documents housed in archival
libraries to X-ray film, textiles, microchips, automotive machinery,
and aircraft components."
In 2002, she received the Banks/Harris award from the American
Library Association for "significant contributions to the library
and archives preservation field."
She is survived by her sister, Carol Rees (Gerald Rees); nephews
David Rees, James Rees (Sarah Casello), and Jonathan Rees (Oakley
Hoerth); and a dear friend, Jocelyn Vinograd, of Austin, Texas.
Memorial contributions may be sent to Arbor Hospice or to NAMI
Washtenaw, 1100 N. Main Street, Ann Arbor.
The Kilgarlin Center for Preservation of the Cultural Record
School of Information
The University of Texas at Austin
1 University Station D7000
Austin TX 78712-0390
Date: 10 Mar 2008
From: Walter Henry <consdist-request [at] lindy__stanford__edu>
Subject: A death
It is incredibly difficult to speak adequately of the incredible
contributions Ellen McCrady made to our field. Honors--in addition
to receiving the Banks/Harris award, she was an Honorary Member of
AIC, one of only a few dozen so honored--do not begin to reflect the
importance of this woman in the history of book and paper
conservation over the past few decades, nor the extent to which she
gave herself fully to bettering the field. For many conservators of
my generation, who grew up with the newsletters, Ellen's unfailing
depth of commitment was more than inspiring; it was downright
I feel very fortunate to have worked with Ellen on a multi-year
effort to bring the Abbey Newsletter and Paper Conservation Advocate
to the Web. You will find the product of that effort in CoOL at
<URL:http://palimpsest.stanford.edu/byorg/abbey/>. Unfortunately it
represents but a small sampling of what the newsletters offered
because we found it inordinately difficult to locate Abbey authors
many years after publication and thus were not able to obtain
permission to include those articles.
If you wrote for either the Abbey Newsletter or the Paper
Conservation Advocate and do not see you your work in the Abbey site
in CoOL, it would be a wonderful thing if you would get in touch
with me about granting permission to mount your articles. These
publications, even when the content may be dated, are important
documentation of the growth of book and paper conservation and
deserve to be seen.
Conservation DistList/Conservation OnLine