Ein Wintermärchen (a winter story) is a children’s book from our Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum Library. The library holds an extensive collection of children’s books, around 2,000, with 1,200 being pop-up books. This particular volume came to the Book Conservation Lab through the Adopt-A-Book program.
The book is lavishly illustrated by Ernst Kreidolf, a well-known Swiss children’s book illustrator. Many of his books depict fairies and other mythical creatures, such as the gnomes depicted in this story.
The book’s endpapers, both at the front and at the back of the book were detached. Upon further inspection, our conservator realized that the stapled binding was coming apart and that the staples had oxidized, threatening the stability of the paper. The decision was made to dis-bind the book, remove the staples and re-sew the textblock, retaining the original endpapers. The endpaper design made their repair complicated but in the end Japanese tissue, toned to complement the original endpapers, was used.
The stapled binding structure limited the opening of the text. With the re-sewing the text now lies nearly flat when opened, placing less stress on the paper. This delightful children’s book may now be used by researchers without causing additional stress to the binding.