A NOTE ON IDENTIFYING BLOOM ON LEATHER BINDINGS
Jean S. Gottlieb
Proton Nuclear Magnetic Resonance permits the identification of the different kinds of hydrogen nuclei in organic molecules. Such identification can be unique. See The Aldrich Library of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectra, Vol. 2, p. 170. Milwaukee: The Aldrich Chemical Co., Inc., 1974–75 for the spectrum of lactic acid, and a variety of other organic acids.
See R.Reed, Ancient Skins, Parchments, and Leathers, p. 60 ff. London and New York: Seminar Press, 1972.
The practice of making pencilled notation of date of treatment in each volume was apparently abandoned by 1970, and no record of the nature, extent, or frequency of treatments after that date has come to light.
See The Abbey Newsletter, Oct. 1982, p. 59.
The author wishes to thank Dr. Leon Stock, Professor in the Department of Chemistry of the University of Chicago, and Dr. John Rippon, Department of Medicine and Director of the University's Mycology Service Laboratory, for the help and information they gave so generously. Dr. Rippon's microscopic examination of scrapings from the leather backbones of books culminated in a brief but informative lecture on mold in its several forms, thus marshalling the evidence that ruled out mold in this case. Dr. Stock, who then interested himself in the challenge of identifying the bloom, determined that the NMR spectrum was the most accurate and effective means of identifying the substance. He arranged for the tests to be run, analyzed the results, and explained and interpreted his findings to the author. His guidance and continuing interest, and his gift of teaching, so that a complex subject became comprehensible to a lay person, are all here gratefully acknowledged.