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Category: Advancement and Development

The Fix: Repairing Kaigara Danmen Zuan

Kaigara Danmen Zuan, before treatment.
Kaigara Danmen Zuan, before treatment.

In the Book Conservation Lab we sometimes treat books requiring intricate repairs. In November,  Kaigara Danmen Zuan printed in Kyoto in 1913 and authored by Yoichiro Hirase came to us for repair work. It was recently adopted through an Adopt-a-Book event hosted at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.  The book itself is from that museum’s library.

Hirase was a prominent malacologist (mollusk scientist) in Japan who collected over 3,500 seashells, 1,000 of which were new discoveries at the time. The idea for this book came from his experimentation with cutting shells at different angles producing cross sections that, when inked, produced interesting stamps.

The Fix: Treating Historic Sheet Music

Earlier this year, two music manuscripts arrived in the book conservation lab from the Dibner Library for the History of Science and Technology. These two small items, James Bishop’s musical Gamut of 1766, and Uri Bishop’s Military Music from the War of 1812, were part of a donation earlier in the year by James L. Cerruti and his sister Vera V. Magruder. The generous gift was featured in a Smithsonian Libraries blog post by Liz O’Brien, “Donations Reveal a Family History”.

 

It’s Your Deal. Five Card Stud, or… Whist?

L: Book illustration (England), 1816; engraving. Title page: From an ancient print engraved by Israel Van Mecken. Researches into the history of playing cards; with illustrations of the origin of printing and engraving on wood … By Samuel Weller Singer. London, R. Triphook, 1816. GV1233 .S61X CHMRU. Smithsonian Libraries. R: Acorn suit of playing cards. Book illustration (England), 1816; engraving. German playing cards, Plate VII. (with suits of bells, hearts, leaves and acorns). 15th century. GV1233 .S61X CHMRU. Smithsonian Libraries.

 

The Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum Library owns books like Researches into the history of playing cards (1816) that support research into the objects in the museum’s curatorial departments.  In studying this book, I was able to make a connection between the book illustrations and some playing cards in the Cooper Hewitt Museum’s Drawings & Prints collections.  This book is an in-depth research into the history of playing cards, with black and white engravings, and eight hand-colored woodcuts. Smithsonian Libraries’ has an Adopt-a-Book Program that provides essential funding to support the conservation, acquisition, and digitization of books and manuscripts. In addition to adopting books online, the Cooper Hewitt Library will be having a special Adopt a Book event on Nov.7th, 2017 in the museum in New York City.  This title is one of the books up for adoption to fund its preservation treatment.