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Tag: The Fix

The Fix: The Full Treatment

In conservation we use the term “full treatment” to describe when a book requires dis-binding the textblock, washing the pages, performing paper repair, re-sewing the sections, and replacing the boards and cover. In other words, it has received the maximum level of conservation care. As part of our Adopt-a-Book program, John Hill’s 1782 A History of Animals, from The Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History, arrived in the Book Conservation Lab in a condition that warranted full treatment.ion that warranted full treatment.

The Fix: Preservation Outreach in Peru

​Due to the unusual amount of rain in March of this year, Peru experienced major flooding, particularly in the Northern providence of Lambayeque. Many cultural institutions were affected. As a result, Vanessa Wagner, the U.S. Embassy in Peru’s Senior Cultural Specialist, reached out to the Smithsonian to organize workshops and talks on the subjects of fire and flood safety & emergency response.

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”.

 

The Fix: Preservation and “Principles of Beauty Relative to the Human Head”

Principles of Beauty Relative to the Human Head by Alexander Cozens was published in 1778 by James Dixwell in London. It is a large book measuring 55 by 38 centimeters (21.5 by 15 inches) and is part of the American Art and Portrait Gallery Library collection. It came to the Book Conservation Lab as part of Smithsonian Libraries Adopt-a-Book program.

The content includes printed drawings of women’s heads and their various facial features. For example, there is one page dedicated to different shaped eyes and another dedicated to different shaped noses. The final 17 pages are especially impressive. They are printed with different shaped women’s faces shown in profile without hair. There are 17 tissue paper overlays each printed with a different hairstyle that can be placed over the pages of the women’s heads, allowing the reader to compare hairstyles to see how they look on different shaped faces. It is amusing to see something being done in a book in the 18th century that can still be done on your smartphone today.

 

The Fix: Repairing “Home Life in Tokyo”’s Original, Protective Portfolio Enclosure

Home Life in Tokyo, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Library

A few months ago, a book from the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Library came for treatment to the Book Conservation Lab: Home Life in Tokyo.  Our copy, printed in 1911, is a softback binding, common for Japanese publications, and according to the bibliographic record, it was “issued in a portfolio.”

Cloth covered portfolio enclosure (note the bone clasps)

The book itself was in very good condition, however, after many years of protecting the soft-backed book, the portfolio enclosure had become damaged and was no longer functional. One spine piece of the structure had completely failed at its hinges; the decorative printed cloth and the paper linings had broken.  The spine cloth fortunately was saved and sent along with the item.