The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 5, Number 5
Nov 1981


International Study Week

A major event of 1981 in the field of bookbinding was the "International Study Week" in April in Ghent, Belgium, organized principally by August Kulche. At least three participants' reports have appeared in print (Jeannie Sack in the Hand Bookbinders of California Newsletter, August; Denise Lubett and Claude Boisset in the Designer Bookbinders Newsletter, June). Over 200 people of 14 different nationalities attended for five days of lectures, demonstrations and site visits. Simultaneous translation was provided into four languages for the lectures, and special translators were provided for attendees who spoke none of the four languages.

Bookbinders who gave lectures included August Kulche, Gotthilf Kurz, Jeff Clements, and Faith Shannon; those giving demonstrations included Louis Gallier of Paris (edge gilding of uncut edges), Ms. Sun Evrard, formerly of Hungary, now of France (covering a book in full vellum), Mr. Hansen and his daughter from Denmark (millimeter bindings), Ms. Komiko Tochiori of Japan (sewing and covering methods evolved from Japanese techniques), Ms. Mignet of Paris (working double headbands), and many others.

Soluble Nylon Reevaluated

Over the years, individual conservators have been having various kinds of trouble with soluble nylon: it turned dark, shrank, peeled off, and became stiff and insoluble as it aged. A good number of articles have appeared documenting these experiences, but since they appeared singly, the material continued to enjoy an undeserved good reputation. Now someone has drawn all the evidence together in an article that will be reviewed in the next issue of this Newsletter:

Catherine Sease, "The Case Against Using Soluble Nylon in Conservation Work." Studies in Conservation, 26: 102-110, 1981.

Call for Papers

The AIC Book and Paper Group is encouraging submission of papers for the annual meeting in May, on both books and paper, but would particularly like to hear from some of the book people because books have been under- represented on the program in recent years. For current information on how the program is shaping up, contact the group's secretary, Karen Garlick, at the Folger Shakespeare Library, 201 E. Capitol St., SE, Washington, DC 20003 (202-544-4600: evenings 202-234-9346).

Papers and other contributions to the Book and Paper Group's program should be sent to Tim Vitale, Program Chairman, Allen Art Building, The Intermuseum Laboratory, Oberlin, Ohio 44074.

Mass Deacidification Trials in LC Program

The November AIC Newsletter amplifies the information given by Peter Sparks at the PLMS meeting in June (reported in this issue by Susan Swartzburg).

"The Library of Congress Preservation Office reports its continuing work on mass deacidification for books using diethyl zinc. Developed by George Kelly with John Williams in the LC Research and Testing Lab, the gas-phase process deposits approximately 2-3% zinc carbonate buffer in paper. Earlier problems in transportation of the pyrophoric [spontaneously-igniting] diethyl zinc have been solved by shipping the chemical in a 50/50 mixture with mineral oil. The mineral oil is fully removed prior to the deacidification process. Current investigations concern the engineering, procedural and financial aspects of executing the treatment in the vacuum chamber. To date three runs of 500 books each have been completed. A large scale rum of 5,000 books will be undertaken in April 1982 at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD with ten additional trial efforts planned for 1983. The scope of the project concerns non-rare books and library materials. The primary goal is to deter deterioration and embrittlement of contemporary books by deacidifying them as they are acquired. It is envisioned that this deacidification process will become a routine practice with new Library materials."

The Abbey Newsletter carried earlier articles on mass deacidification of books in October 1978 and April 1979. The basic diethyl zinc process is described in the 1978 AIC Preprints, in the paper by Kelly and Williams.

Standards Discussed at Guild of Book Workers Meeting

At the GBW Annual Meeting on June 13 in New York City, according to the Fall Newsletter, a major topic of interest was standards.

"Established professional binders expressed their feeling that too many binders with insufficient training were entering the profession and would give a poor name to the entire field if some framework of standards or certification were not established. Binders entering the field, in which there are no clear-cut training models, fear that they will be excluded by those already working. The Standards Committee expressed its hope to present, in the next year, its proposed Seminar on excellence in the diversified craft of hand bookbinding. It was reported that at a meeting of the Standards Committee in Philadelphia during the AIC convention May 27-31, 1981, Chairman Don Etherington reaffirmed the intention of the Committee to organize this Seminar, mow proposed for Spring, 1982, in Washington, DC. At this Seminar, an expert in each area of binding would present his/her definition of high standards via lecture, demonstration, or exhibition. Areas to be covered would include: artists working in book format, designer binders, limited edition and private press binders, conservation binders, and restoration binders. The goal of the meeting would be to point out high standards in each area and to create a forum for discussing the next stage in the development and implementation of standards in binding. It is planned that written summaries as well as physical examples would result from the meeting which could then be circulated to regional groups as am exhibition or seminar."

ICOM Committee for Conservation Meets

The 6th Triennial Meeting of the International Council of Museums' Committee for Conservation, held in Ottawa September 21-25, was attended by about 500 delegates. A new Directory Board was elected, which designated Brian Arthur as (continuing) President, and named Robert Organ of the Smithsonian's Conservation Analytical Laboratory as the new Vice President. J.R.J. Van Asperen de Boer resigned his key position as Executive Secretary of the Committee, after more than a decade in that post, a period in which the group experienced its major growth, and during which the preprints system used for the triennial meetings was developed. The papers delivered by the 23 working groups at the current sessions filled four fat looseleaf volumes, which were available at the meeting. Additional copies may be obtained from ICON headquarters in Paris (Maison de l'Unesco, 1, rue Miollis, 75732 Paris Cedex 15, France) or from ICCROM in Rome (13, Via di San Michele, 00153 Rome, Italy).

A British Report on an American Exhibition

The September Designer Bookbinders Newsletter carried a report by member Dalma Flanders, who visited the Guild of Book Workers' 75th Anniversary Exhibition in New York during the summer. "The venue for the exhibition [the Grolier Club] was an excellent one, but I was surprised and rather disappointed to find that few of the bindings matched their surroundings. There were, however, three which appealed to me: Kirstin Miura's binding of 'Blue- beard and his Seven Wives' bore a simple design of Blue- beard's face outlined in gold lines glaring down on his seven diminutive wives--each of whom had long flowing hair

and a gown of colored onlaid leather--portraying their absolute submission to him; Deborah Evetts' pretty floral design on her binding of 'Ourika' by Claire Defort was beautifully executed and a delight to the eye; and Michael Wilcox had produced a really stunning binding of Poe's 'Tales of Mystery and Imagination,' intertwining three immaculately tooled gold masks."

Preservation of Sound Recordings

The Committee for the Preservation of Sound Recordings met for the first time on November 2 in New York City, in conjunction with the Audio Engineering Society meeting. It was attended by about 55 librarians, archivists, physicists, chemists and industry representatives interested in the problem. A steering group was chosen, which will meet before Christmas to draft a statement of purpose. Present members of the steering group are James Hawthorne, a polymer chemist of DuPont; David Mills, Marketing Manager of the Minerals, Pigments and Metals Division of Pfizer Corporation; Byrne Hull, engineering consultant, retired from Ampex; David Sarser of King Instrument Corporation; and Mary Hoos, archivist of the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center and coordinator of the New York meeting. For further information contact Ms. Hoos at 4317 Barrington Road, Baltimore, MD 21229 (tel. 301-242-0514).

Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts

The VLA in New York has opened a branch office in the headquarters of the Foundation for the Community of Artists (280 Broadway) where legal consultations will be available on alternate Tuesday afternoons from 1 to 5 pm.

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