The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 6, Number 1
Feb 1982


News

Polyester Sheeting That Filters Out Ultraviolet

Transilwrap Company of Philadelphia, Inc., has developed a new kind of polyester sheeting by accident while trying to provide offset printers with a lower-cost polyester to paste up their negative film on. The printers who tried it out complained that the UV exposure light would not penetrate the negative when they tried to make a plate, no matter what they did. The manufacturers did not drop it as a failure, but now anticipate selling it on the basis of this "fault."

So far no conservation lab has tried or tested it. For samples and information, contact Ken Forrester, Transilwrap Company, 2741 N. 4th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19133 (215-953-1929 or 800-523-0876).

Transilwrap Company is the largest polyester converter in the country. Most of their customers are printers, who buy the equivalent of Dupont's Type D or ICI's 516, by the printer's term GA-20. Printers prefer polyester for their work because it is dimensionally stable. When they do overlays, it stays in register well, thus giving a clear picture when printed.

Transilwrap handles 35 kinds of polyester. Of these, the best sellers are the ICI and Dupont products, with 8 or 9 of their own products as runners-up. Polyester is only one of the sheet plastics and related products that they sell.

IIC Announces Program for Its September Meeting

The International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works will hold its ninth inter national congress in Washington, D.C., 3-9 September. Their provisional list of speakers includes the following which may be of interest to conservators of books and paper:

Vincent Daniels. Colour changes during the conservation of watercolours

Robert L. Feller. Induction time and stages in the deterioration of adhesives

Françoise Flieder. The protection of documents by a mass deacidification treatment

David N.-S. Hon. Discoloration and deterioration of modern papers

Jan Lyall. Chemical methods of stabilizing lignin in ground wood pulp paper

Franz Mairinger. New methods of chemical analysis--A tool for the conservator

Timothy Padfield et al. Exposure through enclosure: Internally generated pollution in museums Garry Thomson and Sarah Staniforth. Identification and measurement of change in appearance by image processing

Henry Wilhelm. Stability characteristics of color photo graphic prints on long-term display

Poster sessions will form an important part of this meeting. Correspondence relating to poster sessions should be addressed to: W. T. Chase, Technical Laboratory, Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20560. All other correspondence relating to the congress should be addressed to: N. S. Brommelle, Secretary- General, IIC, 6 Buckingham Street, London WC2N 6BA, United Kingdom. The fee is $125.

Annual Meeting of the National Conservation Advisory Council

At its 1981 Annual Meeting on October 14, the National Conservation Advisory Council (NCAC) reached a milestone in its eight-year advocacy of a national institute for the conservation of cultural property (including books and documents) in the United States. The Council unanimously approved in principle five draft sections of a revised proposal incorporating recommendations gathered over the past half year from conservators and other professionals in a wide variety of cultural institutions. A published proposal is anticipated by April, 1982.

The National Institute for Conservation, first conceived in 195S as a central conservation laboratory for investigation and service for conservation in the U.S., was expanded in concept as the years passed by, to serve all national needs of museums, and later came to include libraries and archives as well. Major functions currently proposed for the NIC are 1) information services such as a national clearinghouse, 2) education services including sponsorship of continuing education, and 3) scientific support services such as testing of materials and methods used in conservation.

The NIC proposal is addressed to many of the needs of libraries and archives discussed at the National Preservation Program Conference in 1976, as reported in the December 1981 issue of this Newsletter, and summarized from various other sources in the April issue before that. The NPP, however, relates principally to libraries, whereas the NIC relates to conservation in general, including museums and historic buildings.

The remainder of the October meeting was devoted to a variety of administrative matters, including a report from the Quantification Study Committee, which will conduct a study with NEA funds to identify and quantify the conservation needs of historic buildings. The Committee also plans to quantify the conservation needs of collections in libraries, archives and museums.

Prior to adjournment, the Council held elections for the positions of President, Vice President, and Member-at- Large of the Board of Directors. Arthur Beale, Charles Hummel, and Marigene Butler were elected respectively to these positions. Outgoing President Marigene Butler was honored by a standing ovation for her successful leader ship during the last two years. The Council's present officers are: Arthur Beale, President; Charles Hummel, Vice President; Gretchen Ellsworth, Secretary; John Spencer, Treasurer; and Marigene Butler, Ann Hitchcock, and Terry Weisser, Members-at-Large.

The NCAC is a temporary body set up in 1973 to consider and advise on national needs in conservation in the U.S. Its members are not individuals, but organizations that have a strong involvement in conservation, such as the AIC, the Smithsonian, the National Bureau of Standards, and the American Association of Museums. The Library of Congress and National Archives are members too.

For further information, contact David Shute, Executive Director, NCAC, d/o A & I 2225, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20560 (202-357-2295).

Manuals and Slide/Tape Programs From Nebraska

The Nebraska State Historical Society, with the assistance of a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, has produced a set of manuals on the preservation of paper and microfilm. They include information related to proper environmental and physical conditions, and to response to disasters affecting records. The three manuals differ only in terms of references to the intended audience. Their titles are "A Manual for Records Preservation and Disaster Planning for Local Government Agencies in Nebraska," "A Manual . . for State Government Agencies in Nebraska," and "A Manual . . . for Archives, Libraries and Museums in Nebraska." They were prepared by Conservation Specialist Judith Fortson-Jones. Free copies are available, upon request, as long as supplies last.

The Society, with the assistance of NHPRC, has also produced two new slide/tape programs as part of their series on basic paper conservation. The first two pro grams were on "Surface Cleaning" and "Encapsulation." The new programs, "Environmental Controls" and "Storage and Handling," are concerned with the prevention or retardation of the deterioration of books and paper.

""Environmental Controls" contains 114 slides and lasts 18 minutes, 30 seconds. "Storage and Handling," with 93 slides, lasts 13 minutes. Each program is equipped with a cassette tape cued for automatic slide advancement, though synchronized players are not required. Printed scripts are also provided.

The programs may be borrowed, free of charge, for a period of one week following receipt. If desired, they may also be purchased. The price of "Environmental Controls"' is $60; "Storage and Handling" is $50 (prides include shipping and handling).

Contact: Conservation Specialist, Nebraska State Historical Society, 1500 R Street, Lincoln, Nebraska 68508 (402-471-3270)

Conservation Seminar in Austin

The University of Texas's Conservation Department in the Humanities Research Center held its "First Annual Seminar" on Conservation of Archival Materials February

17-19. With lectures, demonstrations and training sessions, the emphasis was on education and training for people involved in in-house programs. Speakers were Don Etherington, Nancy Harris, Siegfried Rempel, Craig Jensen, John Chalmers, and Connie Brooks, all of whom are on the staff at the Humanities Research Center. The program was oriented as much to the care of books as it was to the care of documents.

National Archives Suffers From Budget Cuts

By early March the National Archives and Records Service will have lost about a quarter of its employees because of budget cuts. This will include most of the employees hired in the last few years, including the editor of this Newsletter and many newly trained archivists. MARS' services are also being reduced and hours shortened. So far preservation has remained a fairly high priority, but it has not been immune to cuts: the Document Preservation Branch has lost the same proportion of people as in the organization as a whole.

Six-State Conservation Survey

A Midwest Regional Study for Materials Conservation is underway to determine the interest in a joint effort to provide preservation services among libraries and other institutions in Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Funded by a 10-month grant from NEH, this study focuses on making preservation techniques conveniently and financially available. The study will culminate in a report and a plan for action. The Project Director is Walter Brahm, who was instrumental in establishing the first regional conservation center for library and archival materials, the Northeast Document Conservation Center.

In October 1981, Mr. Brahm reported the findings of his preliminary survey of conservation activities in the area. The most involved agencies seem to be state library, archives, historical and museum agencies, but some action has also taken place in universities, historical societies, regional centers, museums, one advisory commit tee, one interest group and a few commercial conservation services.

Mr. Brahm sent his October report to 350 people on a mailing list he built up for this purpose, and in January he mailed out a compilation of the comments he had received in response to that mailing. In general, the responses resembled those reported from the Western States Materials Conservation Project Feasibility Colloquium in Snowbird, Utah in June 1980 (ANL, Sept. 1980, p. 45). Conservation needs mentioned most frequently included a) a clearing house or information exchange, b) basic conservation training, c) in-house facilities, and d) regional centers or cooperative programs.

The next step is a series of three colloquia. The letter sent out in January says, "If you are an administrator bring your conservator; if you are a conservator bring your administrator. . . come prepared to report what your institution's needs are and the programs you would like to see develop to meet them, how existing state and local programs might be enhanced or assisted.") The first is March 12 in Fort Wayne, Indiana; local coordinator is Mrs. Kaye Schneider, Director of the Western Ohio Regional Library Development System, Lima, Ohio. For more information, write Walter Brahm, Project Director, Midwest Regional Study for Materials Conservation, Ohio Library Foundation, 40 South Third Street, Suite 409, Columbia, Ohio 43215. Contact the coordinator directly for information about the Fort Wayne colloquium.

Three Former Horton Employees Open New Bindery

Ursula Hofer, Louise Kuflik and Leah Maneaty announce the opening of the Sky Meadow Bindery conservation studio, specializing in the restoration of books, documents and manuscripts. Services offered include:

The three have a combined experience in book conservation of over 20 years. Ursula Hofer, after completing her fine binding apprenticeship in Basel, Switzerland, worked for 10 years with Carolyn Horton & Associates. Louise Kuflik, in addition to 8 years experience with Carolyn Horton, holds an MLS degree and a Certificate in Advanced Librarianship. Leah Maneaty received her initial training in book and paper conservation at the National Library in Florence and at Trinity College, Dublin before spending three years at the Horton Bindery.

Seven-Day Course on Paper Conservation

Charles Brandt, Chief Conservator of Artistic and Historic Works on Paper for the Manitoba Provincial Archives, gave an intensive seven-day course on paper conservation November 12-18. The professional development course, offered by the (Canadian) University of Victoria Extension's Cultural Conservation Program, drew 16 participants from New Mexico, Iowa, Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan interested in learning more about conserving works of art on paper, rare books, and manuscripts.

Changes at LBI

The Library Binding Institute, an 80-member trade association in the library binding industry, has selected a new executive director. Albert L. Leitschuh, of Minnetonka, Minnesota, will succeed Dudley A. Weiss, who is retiring from the position after 30 years of service. Mr. Weiss will remain as general counsel to LBI.

Beverly Adamonis, editor of the LBI's quarterly magazine The Library Scene, was on leave of absence during January and February of this year, and hopes to begin a new career in the communications field.

Kerstin Tini Miura to Tour U. S.

Kerstin Tini Miura, German bookbinder, will visit the United States in May, 1982. During her 8-week visit she will exhibit some of her bindings and present slide lectures on modern European binders. She will also conduct workshops on leather onlay techniques and edge decoration, other than gilding.

Tini, as she prefers to be called, studied bookbinding in Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and France. She opened her own atelier in Sweden in 1966 and moved to Tokyo in 1976, where she now lives and works. Her marriage in 1975 to Einen Miura, a Japanese research student, brought a new dimension to her bindings--a melding of Western bookbinding techniques with the Oriental art tradition. She has developed a technique which she calls "oleaugraph," because of the use of oil color and water.

Mrs. Miura has won many awards in bookbinding competitions, including the silver medal in the Prix Paul Bonet in Ascona, Switzerland in 1971. Her bindings are in many private collections, including those of King Carl Gustav of Sweden, Queen Elizabeth of England, King Constantine of Greece, President Lopez-Portillo of Mexico and in collections of museums, libraries and universities in Europe, Japan, Australia and the United States. Her books have been in 34 exhibitions in various parts of the world.

A TV documentary has been made of her at work and she has been featured in many newspaper and magazine articles. The 1982 Penrose Annual has a 15-page article about her, generously illustrated from her book, My World of Bibliophile Binding, published in Japan in 1980 and now being translated into English.

For further information on Mrs. Miura's lecture and workshop schedule, contact Mel Kavin, Kater-Crafts Book binders, 4860 Gregg Road, Pico Rivera, CA 90660 (213-692- 0665).

GSA Chief Closing Seven Labs in Economy Move

Administrator Gerald P. Carmen, head of the General Services Administration, announced in December that he would close seven testing laboratories that have supported the General Services Administration's governmentwide sup ply system. He said the action will save $3.3 million annually, and conforms with the Administration efforts to streamline government operations and to rely more heavily on the private sector.

"Our Federal Supply Service is turning more and more toward procurement of off-the-shelf commercial items," Carmen said, "so there is less need for research and development to establish specifications for products or to develop government-unique testing methods. We will rely more on testing and quality assurance by reliable vendors and use of warranties and performance bonds to protect the government's interest."

The Research and Development Laboratory in Washing ton, DC, which had a part in enforcing standards for preservation supplies for the National Archives and Records Service, was closed around December 31, and six others around the country are scheduled for closing during the next eight months.

American Craft Museum II

The American Craft Museum will open a second museum this spring at International Paper Company's world head quarters at 77 W. 45th St. IP will donate s 3,500 sq. ft. space in the lobby and has given a 3-year grant to help supply operating funds for the museum. The new facility will double the exhibition space available to the Museum. American Craft Museum II will open with an exhibition of handmade paper.

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