The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 6, Number 4
Aug 1982


AIC Certifies First Non-Grandfather

The "grandfather clause" in the regulations for certification of paper conservators in the American Institute for Conservation permitted certification of practicing paper conservators without requiring them to take the examination. About 40 were certified in this manner by the time the grandfather clause recently reached the time limit set for it. Now the first certificate by examination has been granted. It went to Pat Dacus Hamm, who went through all the steps, including the take-home exam and the on-site visit with the oral exam. An article by Marilyn Weidner in the August AIC Newsletter gives details.

Middleton Itinerary

Bernard Middleton just made press deadline with this schedule of the workshops he will be giving this fall. Inquiries may be directed either to Mr. Middleton (3 Gauden Road, Clapham, London, S.W.4, England) or to the people or institutions in parentheses after the city. Two hosts have submitted announcements for the "Coming Events" column, q.v.

Oct. 23-26 Pittsburgh (Hunt Institute)
Nov. 6-9 New York (N.Y. Botanical Garden for GBW)
Nov. 13-14 Chicago (Anthony & Associates)
Nov. 27-29 San Francisco (Jennifer Larson, 415/ 731-8713)
Dec. 1-3 Austin (Humanities Research Center)

Diethyl Zinc Test Delayed

There has been a last-minute delay in the diethyl zinc deacidification test at Goddard Space Flight Center outside Washington. At present it is scheduled for September.

Unusual Papermaking Fibers

Kenaf, a plant related to marijuana, is being looked into as a replacement for trees in the manufacture of newsprint. The American Newspaper Publishers Association commissioned a study, completed in March 1982, through the Department of Agriculture. (This was reported in the New York Times for September 13, 1981, and picked up in the Binders' Guild Newsletter for November/December 1981, when the report was still in preparation.)

The report considers the economics of kenaf as a cash crop, including the problems of harvesting, storing and distributing the light, bulky stems. It is 170 pages long and costs $35. For copies, write to American Newspaper Publishers Association, Newsprint and Traffic Department, Attn: Mr. J. F. Prendergast, Jr., P0 Box 17407 Dulles International Airport, Washington, DC 20041. The name of the report is: "General Feasibility Study/Kenaf Newsprint System, Prepared for ANPA by Soil and Land Use Technology, Inc., March 1982."

The study was commissioned through the USDA's Northern Regional Research Lab in Peoria.

On quite a different scale, a plant called mitnan is being used in Israel. The June 1982 DB Newsletter has a letter from Nellie Stavisky, 4 Magnes Square, Jerusalem, Israel, who says, "...Handmade paper is being produced in small quantities at the Uncle Bob Leslie Paper Mill, attached to the Visual Arts Centre, Tuviyahu Blvd., Beersheva, Israel. The director of the Mill is graphic artist Joyce Schmidt. Among other papers the Mill produces a special paper from a local plant, mitnan, which is botanically related to mitsumata and gampi of the Thymelaeaceae family. It is lustrous, silky, and cream colored, and has been used by both artists and conservators."

Vlaamse Handboekbindersgilde

The Guild of Flemish Handbookbinders was established in September 1981, and by March 1982 they had membership of more than 140 active bookbinders. The Guild's official purpose is the propagation of hand bookbinding both as a craft and as an art. Next to that, it will act as a pressure group to preserve the Flemish cultural heritage through the restoration and conservation of bindings, paper and archive materials.

Its activities will include a quarterly magazine, the fourth issue of which will carry more substantial articles; workshops conducted by specialists from all over Europe; guided tours; and a yearly exhibition of bookbindings. Their workshops so far have been on edge- gilding, paper repair and leaf-casting. Next year's exhibition will run from the 12th to the 20th of March and is open to members from abroad. For information write to Yvette N.M. Kekesel-De Ruyck, Hon. Secretary, Vlaamse Handboekbindersgilde V.Z.W., Begijnhoflaan 37, B 900 Gent [Ghent?], Belgium.

Cooperative Book Conservation Program

The McMaster University Library has established a cooperative preservation program which will enable libraries in Ontario and other provinces which have rare books or special collections to have preservation binding work carried out for them. This recently-established program provides access to specialized facilities and services which may not have been previously available elsewhere.

For further information, contact John Holmes, Library Preservation Specialist, Mills Memorial Library, McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario LBS 4L6, Canada.

Council on Library Resources Moves

On June 1, the CLR moved to 1785 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20036. Its new telephone number is (202) 483-7474.

News From the Thistle Bindery

David Bourbeau writes that in September Dan Kelm, formerly the finisher-gilder at Harcourt Bindery, will be joining him as a full associate, expanding the design possibilities of work offered by the bindery.

He says he has just completed the many interviews for study at the bindery and has decided on the two full- time interns for the 1982-83 year, but will be taking applications for Fall 1983.

(David Bourbeau spoke at the April Standards Seminar, representing edition binding in place of S. Gray Parrot, who was unable to come.)

Workshop Finds Binder

The Creative Arts Workshop in New Haven, Connecticut, is very pleased to announce that Lage E. Carlson from San Francisco, California, will be coming to New Haven to take complete charge of its new hand bindery. As Bindery Manager and Artist in Residence, he will teach as well as plan workshops and new projects as part of his time. He will be able to use the rest of his time to continue his private binding, using the Creative Arts Workshop's excellent new bindery. Mr. Carlson will begin his duties on September 1, 1982.

Recent Grants for Archival Projects

The July SAA Newsletter listed 35 recent grants from NEH and NHPRC, five of which dealt with conservation matters. In August another NEH grant went to SAA.

National Endowment for the Humanities

Dropsie University: Up to $24,663 for organization and preservation of fragments on vellum, parchment and paper from the Cairo synagogue, 11th to 15th centuries.

University of North Carolina--Chapel Hill: $19,965 for cataloguing and rehousing a collection of 20,000 photographs in the Southern Historical Collection.

National Historical Publications and Records Commission

Northeast Document Conservation Center: $12,945 to provide practical training in conservation planning for records custodians in the northeastern United States. Also $5,000 for consultation and meetings to plan a national study and develop guidelines on methods of duplicating historical photo negatives.

National Conservation Advisory Council: $7,750 to draft a formal standard for protective environmental conditions for storage of paper-based library and archival holdings.

Tang Speaks on Analytic Method

Lucia C. Tang, research chemist, Preservation Research and Testing Office, was a guest speaker at the Smithsonian Institution/National Bureau of Standards Seminar on May 19. Mrs. Tang's theme was "Direct Determination of Elements in Conservation Materials by Flame- less Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy." These techniques are now being applied to predict paper permanence, characterize foxing spots in paper, correlate metallic oxidation catalysts in bookbinding leathers with stability, select the wash water system, evaluate the efficiency and reagent retention by washing and alkalizing treatment, and other conservation studies. [From the LC Information Bulletin.]

According to her 1978 article in the AIC Journal, "Determination of Iron and Copper in 18th and 19th Century Books by Flameless Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy," reported in the February 1979 Abbey Newsletter, this method is useful for conservation because it is rapid and only requires very small samples.


In the last issue of the Abbey Newsletter we made the mistaken announcement that Chris CLARKSON had left the Bodleian Library. We wish to make it quite clear that this was incorrect; Clarkson is still happily working at the Library.

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