There are times when we receive items in the Book Conservation Lab that have been altered from their original format. This was the case with a seven volume set of L’Assiette au Beurre, a French social protest magazine from the early twentieth century, from the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum Library.
Before treatment – detached spine
The magazine was published from 1901-1912 and featured the drawings, mainly caricatures, by many well known artists such as Juan Gris, Théophile Alexandre Steinlen and Frank Kupka. Through caricature, these artists poked fun at the wealthy, police, politicians, the military, the church, and other established or bourgeois groups as well as addressing social and political issues of the Belle Epoque era.
The individual issues had been bound commercially by year into modern buckram covered cloth bindings. This oversewn binding structure placed considerable stress on the already brittle issues of the magazine causing damage and breakage.
As a result, the decision was made to dis-bind the issues. The issues were carefully removed from the binding, cleaned, repaired and then placed in individual Mylar L Sleeves. The issues were then placed in custom made double tray boxes by year. Researchers can now access any of the issues without unnecessary wear to the entire year’s run of issues.
After Shots of Box
— Katie Wagner