A scrapbook from the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology came to the book conservation lab though our Adopt-a-Book program. Through the program, patrons can adopt a book for preservation or acquisition. This unusual book is a scrapbook used to house collectible cards that were found in cigarette packets in Germany during the 1930s. The binding was stapled and difficult to open because the staples were attached to the paper about 2 cm from the spine. The staples had also begun to oxidize further endangering the brittle paper.
Several of the collectible cards were missing and almost all of the cards were detached or loose. The cards had been affixed to the scrapbook with an adhesive that degraded, losing its ability to hold the cards on the pages.
A further concern was that the cards had information on the back of them. While this information matched the information on the scrapbook page it was in a different script. The scrapbook pages were in Fraktur script but the cards in a modern German script. This was a period of time where the traditional blackletter scripts (like Fraktur) were being phased out and newer scripts implemented. For present day researchers the modern script is far easier to read.
The first step in the conservation process was to dis-bind the book and remove the staples. The cover was then repaired and set aside. The pages were also repaired and re-sewn through the fold, greatly increasing the ability of the binding to open. Spacers were placed between every few sections to offset the bulk of the cards. New tissue paper replaced the acidic paper between the pages that protected the cards from rubbing against one another.
The cards had to be re-attached so that the information on the reverse side was legible. Thin Japanese tissue was used to hinge the cards at the top to the pages. The tissue was adhered with reversible wheat starch paste.
The cards can now be read from the reverse side without compromising the original look of the scrapbook. The original cover was then re-attached to the textblock and a double tray box was created to protect this paperbound scrapbook from further damage.
If you are interested in learning more about our Adopt-a-Book program consider attending our November event! It is a terrific opportunity to see our collection in person while enjoying a selection of food & drink.
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