The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 9, Number 4
Jul 1985


Literature

Selected Contents of Significant Publications

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Binders' Guild Newsletter continues with coverage of gold and gilding. The June issue reprints a miniature book, the Gold Beater, by Stephen Hayes (Swift, 1967) and the first 13 pages of a 1962 book by Richard H. Barnes, Gilding and the Making of Gold Leaf. (The rest will follow.)

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The Journal of the American Institute for Conservation for fall 1984 (received May 28) includes:

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Journal de l'Association des Relieurs du Quebec, a bilingual publication, is an important source of news on bookbinding in France. The July issue is 50 pages long, and includes a 7-page illustrated description of Sün Evrard's method of limp spine binding (reliure à dos souple) as recently demonstrated at the Bibliothèque Nationale du Québec. The article, in English, is by Louise Genest-Côté

Also in this issue is a 2½-page compendium of facts on miniature books and the history of their production. The historical trend has been toward smaller and smaller size.

Conferences & Professional Publications

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Three articles comparing costs of the two major mass deacidification procedures (LC's diethyl zinc and the Wei T'o process) are available without charge from Wei T'o Associates, PO Drawer 40, Matteson, IL 60443; enclose business-length, self-addressed, stamped envelope with request. They are:

Richard D. Smith, "Mass Deacidification: the Wei T'o Way." College & Research Libraries News, 45: 588-93, Dec. 1984.

Peter G. Sparks and Richard D. Smith, "Deacidification Dialogue." C & RL News, 46: 9-11, Jan. 1985

Richard U. Smith, "Mass Deacidification Cost Comparisons." C & RL News, 46: 122-23, March 1985.

Actually, a good deal more than cost is discussed, including many of the pros and cons of each system, but since the LC facility is not built yet, there are some speculative passages.

Also available from the same source is Dr. Smith's article from the New Library Scene entitled "Fumigation Dilemma: Mere Overkill or Common Sense?"

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Léon Gilissen. La reliure occidentale antérieure 'a 1400 d'après les manuscrits de la bibliothèque royale Albert ler Bruxelles. Bibliogia, Elementa ad librorum studia pertenentia, Vol. 1, Brussels: Brepols-Turnhout, 1983, 181 pp., LXXV plates.

Jane Greenfield, who sent this reference in, says, "M. Gilissen has not so much followed in the footsteps of Berthe van Regemorter as used her work as a stepping stone in his detailed description of pre-1400 binding techniques. He goes on to provide meticulous archaeological descriptions of ten manuscripts in the Royal Library in Brussels, and the accompanying photographs are magnificent. His book is a significant advance in the study of western binding techniques."

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Jean Toulet and Jean Vezin, eds. La Reliure. Special number of the Revue française d'histoire do livre, 2 vols., Société des bibliophiles de Guyenne, No. 36, New series, 1982. Articles by J. Vezin, J. Irigoin, Mirjam Foot, Giles Barber, A. Hobson and more--all in French. The first volume has 470 pages and lots of plates. Jane Greenfield, who sent this reference too, has not yet received the second volume. She says some of the articles are quite interesting.

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Hans A. Halbey. Vortrag zur Erõffnung der Ausstellung "Kurt Londenberg/Bucheinbände" in der Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel am 17. Februar 1979. (Address given at the Opening of the Exhibition "Kurt Londenberg/Bookbindings" etc.) Halbey is the Director of the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz. His talk, all in German, concerns Londenberg's approach to his craft. Toward the end it mentions Londenberg's pupils: Frank Mowery, Barbara Partikel and Hans Rudolf Billeter. There are extra copies of this neatly printed and bound pamphlet, which will be sent out to anyone who wants a copy and sends along at least 39 worth of postage, any denominations. It is too large to fit an ordinary business envelope.

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"Why do White Fabrics and Garments Turn Yellow During Storage in Polyethylene Bags and Wrappings?" by Kenneth C. Smeltz. Textile Chemist and Colorist 15(4) April 1983, p. 52/17-56/21. Tuck Taylor, Du Pont chemist emeritus and present-day advisor to conservators, sent in this report of a neat piece of research and detective work. This particular type of yellowing was first noticed only 10 years ago. It was researched intensively all over the world and now seems to be attributable to the co-occurrence of four factors: the presence of BUT, nitrogen dioxide, moisture and alkaline finished fabrics. The chemical responsible for the yellow color is the yellow oxidation product of BHT which has a long name. the remedy is to reduce the NO2 level in the air, or use bags not containing the fugitive antioxidant BHT (sources are given), or (easiest) finish all white fabrics on the acid side.

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"Reproductive Hazards in the Arts and Crafts." a fact sheet from the Center for Occupational Hazards, 5 Beekman St., NYC 10038 (212/227-6220). Includes summary of research on 51 agents, including 24 common solvents; tips for the workplace; and bibliography.

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All three volumes of Science for Conservators are back in print:

Book 1: Materials - £5.75
Book 2: Cleaning - £5.75
Book 3: Adhesives and Coatings - £6.00

The set costs £16.50. All prices include postage and packing. Payment must be made in pounds sterling by one of the following methods: 1) Eurocheque, with account # on reverse of check, 2) Banker's draft, payable on a London bank, or 3) Direct bank payment to Barclays Bank PLC, 27 Regent St., London SW1. Sort code: 20-71-64. Account #: 80269379. For Methods 1 and 2, send to Crafts Council, 12 Waterloo P1., London SW1Y 4AU, England.

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National Archives and Records Service (NAPS) Twenty Year Preservation Plan, by Alan Calmes, Ralph Schofer and Keith R. Eberhardt. Nov. 1984, issued Jan. 1985. $10 from National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA 22161; but NTIS reported last month that they couldn't send it because they had not yet received the master from NARS. Pubn. # NBSIR 85-2999. 69 pp. Anticipated cost of bringing the problem of deterioration under control in NAPS is $209.1 M over 22 years. The plan has nine "action categories": 1) environmental control; 2) holdings maintenance of current holdings; 3) holdings maintenance as a part of the accessioning process; 4) interception, assessment and protection at time of use; 5) systematic duplication of impermanent documents; 6) reproduction of frequently used documents; 7) laboratory treatment of intrinsically valuable documents; 8) laboratory conservation of treasures; and 9) preservation of nontextual records.

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Norbert Baer's review of Air Quality Criteria for Storage of Paper-Based Archival Records (NBS, 1983), originally published in American Archivist 48 (1), Winter 1985, is reprinted in the April issue of the Midwest Cooperative Conservation Program Newsletter. (NBS's publication was reviewed in the July 1984 issue of AN by Editor McCrady.) He recommends that everyone with any responsibility for care of collections buy the report but points out its shortcomings:

Any such study has obvious limitations: the literature is, in general, rather weak in mechanistic studies of air pollutant effects on cellulosic fibers; dose-response relationships for air pollution damage to paper-based archival materials are not available; the measurement program was restricted to the winter months, when ozone and concentrations of nitrous and nitric oxides (NOx) are at a minimum; and the measurements were conducted only in Washington, DO.

.Reasonable [pollution control] technology (Purafil, alkaline wash) fails in the case of NOx. .. .The literature provides little guidance as to the likelihood that NOx and ozone are significant causes of damage to paper, though some pigments, dyes, and photographic images are clearly at risk.

[Total suspended particulate specifications] are dominated by the coarse particulate fraction. The trend is toward specifications for the removal of a percentage of a sized fraction, e.g. 99% D 10um, 95% D 1um, rather than percentage of TSP by weight.

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"Preservation in Research Libraries: a New Approach to Caretaking," by Jan Merrill-Oldham. Connecticut Libraries 27 (5) May 1985. This is a good summary, for the general reader, of what library preservation is and why it is necessary.

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Leather Conservation News will be edited temporarily by Toby Raphael until the transition to the new editorial team at the Texas Memorial Museum is complete. Submissions for the October issue are invited on the following topics: News, People, Reviews (i.e. new literature, articles, etc.), Materials & Techniques, Technical & Chemical Notes, Research Projects & Techniques, and Letters & Queries. Mail by August 1 to Mr. Raphael at National Park Service, Conservation Laboratory, Harpers Ferry Center, Harpers Ferry, WV 25425.

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PHOCUS: a Bibliography Data Base for the Conservation of Photographic Materials, by Klaus B. Hendricks and Diane Hopkins. 1985. Available free of charge from Publications Division, Public Archives of Canada, 395 Wellington St., Ottawa, Canada K1A 0N3. Intended to guide others who may be interested in developing data bases similar to that described in the 1984 AIC Preprints. The system was developed using the MINISIS software package on a Hewlett-Packard 3000 minicomputer.

Standards & Practical Guides

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"Simple Conservation Techniques," a series of eight manuals with accompanying slide-tape programs, intended to supplement personal demonstration and instruction. By Mary Tigelaar. Published by the Association for Higher Education of North Texas with funds granted under the Library Services and Construction Act, Title III, in 1984. Address: AHE, P0 Box 830688, Richardson, TX 75083. The parts are stapled separately, and are titled:

  1. Basic Conservation Techniques
  2. Paper Repair
  3. Treatments for Leather Books
  4. Protective Housing: Polyethylene Book Wraps and Polyester Book Jackets
  5. Protective Housing: the Phase Box
  6. Protective Housing: the Clamshell Box
  7. Simple Binding: Paperback to Hardback
  8. Print Cleaning and [2] Display Cradles

The series was designed to help train library staff to perform simple conservation procedures. It includes most of what a stack maintenance unit would do, and the simplest book repair procedures, on an elementary level, using nondestructive and reversible procedures. The author was trained at the Library of Congress as a staff member and is known as an excellent teacher. Nevertheless, the manuals do not stand well alone. The computerized format is hard to scan, and the illustrations are not clear; there is too little on one page, and only one side of each page is printed. The procedures are certainly conservation-oriented, but it is hard to say how expeditious they are without attending the workshops associated with them. Maybe it doesn't matter how fast the library staff are at first, as long as they are encouraged to use sound procedures.

In the first year of AHE's program, 18 librarians from 10 participating libraries received conservation training, in order to instruct their own staff. No information is provided about length of the training, or whether refresher workshops were given.

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PPFA Accounting Manual. Revised 1984. $25 to members of Professional Picture Framers Association. Order from PPFA, P0 Box 6755, Richmond, VA 23231. This manual was developed especially for accounting procedures unique to the framing and fine art industry. It recommends business procedures and controls, explains industry accounting policies, and shows how to set up a chart of accounts. Why is there no such manual for bookbinders and conservators in private practice?

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Caring for Collections: Strategies for Conservation, Maintenance and Documentation. A Report on an American Association of Museums project. AAM, 1984. $2.40. This 44-p. booklet is about museums, yet much of it relates to libraries and archives too. Chapter 6, "Priorities for Collections Care," has many relevant passages. Write PAM, 1055 Thomas Jefferson St., NW, Washington, DO 20007 (202/338-5300).

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"Assessing the Activity of Fungal Growth on Art Objects with a View to Possible Fumigation: is a 2-page handout from the poster display at the AIC meeting, by Hanna Szczepanowska, Paper Conservator, Williamstown Regional Art Conservation Laboratory, Inc., 225 South St., Williamstown MA 01267 (413/458-5741). Gives sources for all unusual supplies and warns of hazards (from the fungi). Gives instructions for culture.

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Preservation Education in ARL Libraries, SPEC Kit #113, is a compilation of materials from member libraries on education of readers, staff, potential donors and senior administrators, and on management responsibilities. 110 pages. $10 members, $20 nonmembers.

Binding Operations in ARL Libraries, SPEC Kit #114, is a similar compilation, on in-house and commercial binding, which reports that in-house binding is usually in the preservation or conservation department. 105 pages, same price.

Both SPEC Kits can be ordered from SPEC, Office of Management Studies, ARL, 1527 New Hampshire Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20036.

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Prudent Practices for Disposal of Chemicals from Laboratories, by the Committee on Hazardous Substances in the Laboratory of the Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Resources of the National Research Council. Intended for researchers, managers, teachers and students; deals with problems in use of many types of chemicals in small amounts. Order from National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, DO 20418. $16.50.

Bookbindings

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Paul Needham' s Twelve Centuries of Bookbindings: 400-1600 is still in print for $39.95 + $3.50 postage, from the Pierpont Morgan Library, 29 E. 36th St., New York, NY 10016. The Morgan also still has Sixteenth-Century Gold-Tooled Bookbindings in the Pierpont Morgan Library, by Howard N. Nixon ($30 + $3.50 postage).

Contemporary Designer Bookbindings: Europe & Australia. Crafts Council of Australia (100 George St., Sydney NSW 2000), 1984. 48 pp.

Bibliographies & Other Lists

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Oak Knoll Books. Catalogue 68: History of Papermaking. 414 items, mostly in English, mostly under $50 (but the 1979 publication Handmade Papers of the World is $1950). Many items are paper specimens. Oak Knoll Books, 414 Delaware St., New Castle, DE 19720.

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Yerba Buena Books. Catalogue One: Bookbinding. 365 items, including manuals, history, conservation; examples of fine bindings; and five "books in sheets, or otherwise in need of binding." Yerba Buena Books, 882 Bush Street (at Taylor), San Francisco, CA 94108 (415/474-2788).

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Guild of Book Workers Supply List, 1985 ed., compiled by Bernadette G. Callery and Jean Gunner. $10.00 from GBW, 521 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10175. Now anyone cam buy it. In former years you had to be a member.

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"Occupational Health Clinics," a list of 36 in Art Hazards News 8(4), May 1985. Includes Canada. Center for Occupational Hazards, 5 Beekman St., New York, NY 10038 (212/227-6220).

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"Selective Bibliography" on paper sizing, by Robert Espinosa. Page 9-38 in Program, Abstracts, Bibliography and Glossary for the AIC Seminar on Paper Sizing, May 21, 1985 (compiled by Cathleen Baker). The four main divisions are: bibliographies, historical references, industrial references and paper preservation/conservation and sizing. Scope is comprehensive.

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