The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 6, Number 5
Oct 1982


McIntyre Becomes NLS Conservation Officer

John McIntyre, who last November sent some information to the Abbey Newsletter about the Scottish Region of the Society of Bookbinders and Restorers, took up his new duties as Conservation Officer of the National Library of Scotland in August. He was previously Supervisor of Binding and Conservation at St. Andrews University Library, and had previously served in the university libraries of Manchester and Lancaster. Mr. McIntyre was instrumental in setting up the UK Society of Bookbinders and Book Restorers and is now Chairman of the Scottish Region of that Society. He was engaged last summer (and may still be--there is no recent word on this) in an investigation into the freeze drying of water-damaged books. His annual budget at NLS is $1M. That's one million dollars.

This information was sent by Brian Hutton, Secretary of the Library, who spoke last February at the Second Annual Preservation and Conservation of Library Materials Conference, to be reported soon in this Newsletter. In his talk at that time, Mr. Hutton told how the preservation program had been set up, and the part he played in it.

Library Binding Institute Moves

The LBI's new mailing address is P.O. Box 217, Accord, MA 02018 (tel.: 617/740-1592).

GPO Gives pH of Writing Inks

The Government Printing Office Administrative Notes, v.3 #9, July 1982, ran this note, sent in by Jan Merrill-Oldham

The Paper Mate medium blue ink pen contains acid-free ink with a pH value of between 7.2 and 8.2, which makes it perfect for writing on microfiche envelopes. The Paper Mate medium red ink pen has had its chemical properties changed and it is now acidic.

Without more information, it is hard to know what to make of these few facts. The note is newsworthy, however, because it represents (apparently) an attempt on the part of the GPO to spread information relevant to preservation.

AIC Book & Paper Group Calls for Papers

An August communication to members of the American Institute for Conservation from the Book and Paper Group said, in part, "Responses to the program questionnaire and opinions expressed during the Milwaukee business meeting indicate a general interest in the topic of deacidification. All members are encouraged to help make the 1983 Specialty Session another success by contacting Timothy Vitale, program committee chairman, with ideas for a session on deacidification and, above all, by submitting papers for presentation [on this and other topics].... Presentations can vary from 10 to 30 minutes and range from formal papers to informal discussions. Contact Tim at the Document Conservation Branch, Room B1, National Archives, Pennsylvania Avenue at 7th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20408 or call 202-523-3300.... Deadline: October 29, 1982."

The president of the Book and Paper Group is Bob Futernick and the secretary is Karen Garlick.

AIC members wishing to present papers in the general session should submit their abstract by October 29 to Elizabeth West Fitzhugh, Program Chairman, 1511 K Street, N.W., Suite 725, Washington, DC 20005. It should include a title, author(s), affiliation, and 200-1,000 words, and should indicate whether AV equipment will be needed in addition to dual 35 mm slide projection. Ms. Fitzhugh's telephone at work is 202-357-2153 and at home, 301-949-6490.

International Paper Conference, 1983, Japan

This will be Japan's first international paper symposium, and it looks like it will be big and important, with lectures, demonstrations and workshops on oriental, western, experimental, historic and artistic papermaking. It is being held in Kyoto from Friday Feb. 18 to Monday Feb. 21, 1983, with post-conference tours through the following Saturday and related exhibitions in Kyoto running through part of the following month. There are 70 names listed as planners and officials, including Elaine Koretsky (treasurer of the Friends of the Dard Hunter Paper Museum and hand papermaker) and four other Americans, six Japanese paper researchers, and large numbers of directors, presidents, secretaries general and artists. For more information write IPC '83 Japan, International Craft Center, ABL-Bldg. 3F, Gion-Machi, Higashiyama-Ku, Kyoto, Japan 605 (tel. Kyoto (075) 561-7300). Air mail postage to Japan is the same as to Europe, 40� for ½ oz. Or write the World Print Council, Fort Mason Center, San Francisco, CA 94123.

ALA & LC Plan Three-Level Conferences

The RTSD Preservation of Library Materials Section of the American Library Association, with the cooperation of the Library of Congress, is planning a series of three instructional conferences on preservation. While plans have not yet taken their final form, at present they include

It is anticipated that up to 70 administrators would attend the first, about 150 the second, and a maximum total of 240 repair staff for the third-year workshops.

Application Deadline for Columbia Programs

Anyone interested in the training program for library and archives conservators offered by the School of Library Service, Columbia University, should be aware that the deadline for applications has been moved forward to 15 April. (The deadline for the conservation administrator program at SLS remains 1 August, although it is advantageous to submit applications much earlier.) For current information, write to Conservation Programs, School of Library Service, 516 Butler Library, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027.

SAA to Start Photo, Management Projects

The Society of American Archivists has been awarded a grant of $144,724 by the National Endowment for the Humanities for Phase 2 of the Basic Archival Conservation Program. The new program will consist of two major components: Administration of Photographic Collections and Archival Conservation Management. The first will use workshops, a consultant service, and publication of a manual; the second will involve basic workshops and workshops on microfilm. The project will begin in the fall. Mary Lynn Ritzenthaler will continue to serve as program director and Sylvia Burck will serve as program assistant. For more information call or write SAA, 330 5. Wells, Suite 810, Chicago, IL 60606 (312/922-0140).

Shrink Wrapper

The Framer, newsletter of the Professional Picture Framers Association, ran the following notice in its September issue:

Seal-O-Matic has made available a low-cost shrink wrapping machine. It will protect paintings up to 32" long with water-proof, dust-proof transparent film. This new model, available for a two-week free trial, is mobile and can be shelf-stored when not in use.

For full data, call Seal-O-Matic Company, 900 Passaic Avenue, East Newark, NJ 07029, (800) 631-2072.

Shrink wrapping for little-used books, as an alternative to tying, boxing or banding, has been discussed by conservators, and reportedly tried out in one or more collections, but there are apparently no reports on this in the literature.

Student Papers

The annual art conservation training program conference was held this spring at Queens University, Kingston, Ontario. Of 10 student papers presented there, two dealt directly with paper:

Daniel Clement (Cooperstown): The Formation of Blisters in Paper during Hydrogen Peroxide Bleaching

Bruce Shaw (Queens University): Some Effects of Lamination on the Permanence of Paper

This information was from the AIC Newsletter, from which addresses and further information may be had. Write AIC, 1511 K St., NW, Suite 725, Washington, DC 2000S.

Action in Austin

The First Annual Seminar on Conservation of Archival Materials was held at the University of Texas' Humanities Research Center February 17-19, 1982. Because the emphasis was on training, registration was held down to 20, and the overflow was accommodated in a second session March 10-12. Topics covered included planning an in-house program, educating staff, encapsulation, supplies, stack maintenance, paper mending, leather dressing, boxing, matting, disasters, housing photos, environment, and conservation by library binders. Preprints are not available, but the lectures of the seminar are being repeated in brown bag luncheons for those from UT libraries. To get on the list for next year, write Patricia Palmer, Conservation Secretary, Humanities Research Center, University of Texas, Box 7219, Austin, TX 78712.

NEH Grants for Archival Preservation

Six grants involving preservation were reported in the September SAA Newsletter, of which these two looked the most interesting:

Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA: $12,000 to support preparation of critical and annotated bibliographic reviews on fundamental aspects of the deterioration of paper.

State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Madison, WI: $95,189 to support organization of the performing arts collections held by the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research; and $59,404 to support establishment of a state-wide Conservation Services Center, to assist institutions in conserving their research materials.

In May 1982, another project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities was completed, and the findings and recommendations were written up for distribution in August. This was a Feasibility Study for a Midwest Conservation Effort, also called A Regional Study for Materials Conservation in Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia. Walter Brahm, the Project Director, reported the findings:

  1. There is sufficient desire for conservation services that the time is ripe for establishing a program of regional action.
  2. Equipment and expertise currently exist in the region.
  1. 3. The number one need was a method or procedure for motivating decision-makers to take action for conservation. 4. [Another need was] a procedure or force to motivate decision-makers to decide what is to be saved and what is to be allowed to deteriorate.
  2. 5. Conservation services [needed or desired]:
    a. Information
    b. Education
    c. Treatment services
    d. Regional off site security storage facilities with related micrographic duplication equipment

An Index of Regional Interest in Conservation

Judging by the number of subscribers to this Newsletter, interest in conservation in the Midwest is moderate: there are 60 subscribers in the six states mentioned, and this works out to about 1 subscription every 717,000 inhabitants. In the deep south, where conservation is just getting a toehold, the ratio is 1:2,094,000 for the six states Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida and South Carolina, In the northeast, where the large libraries are concentrated, the ratio is 1:206, 000 (New York State) and 1:208,000 (New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Vermont).

Economic Aspects of Paper Coatings

Calcium carbonate is replacing kaolin (very pure white clay) as a coating for paper on which illustrations are to be printed, according to The APHA Letter No. 48, 1982 No. Four. The passage is reproduced below.

A third of all printing and writing paper is coated. A British company, English China Clays, is the largest producer of China clay (kaolin), responsible for a fifth of the world's output. Kaolin is used to give paper a glossy coating and for filling paper. It is important, of course, for the reproduction of illustrations. (When damp, unfortunately, these kaolin-coated pages stick together so as to damage affected books.) English China Clays, during the 1960s, helped paper manufacturers develop a considerably cheaper coating process using calcium carbonates, such as chalk, limestone or marble. The process involves using an alkaline rather than an acid sizing. Now that the cheaper process is being more widely used, English China Clays is fighting for a share of the market. According to The Economist, growth in demand for coated papers has recently showed to only 5% a year. The popularity of using calcium carbonate coatings is quite recent. The company has figured that the percentage of paper coated with calcium carbonates in European markets has increased from 10% to 20%. The calcium carbonate coating is not suitable for certain printing methods and is not compatible with certain inks and papers. Kaolin itself is relatively rare. Large deposits of the natural kaolin clay are found in the southern United States, with smaller amounts in Czechoslovakia and Germany. In England kaolin is found only in Cornwall and south Devon.

World Watermark Clearinghouse Proposed

There is an Institute for Historical Studies and Documents in Mexico (Instituto de Estudios y Documentos Historicos, a.c.) which relies, as all such centers must, on the historical and bibliographical evidence offered by watermarks in paper. At the 1980 Cambridge conference, there was a 21-page handout from this Institute, entitled "Some Water Marks of Documents of the XVI Century." Most of the pages carried dated tracings of watermarks (hand, cross, heart-and-arrow, and little men like this:)


The introduction carried an appeal for exchange and accumulation of information on watermarks. The Institute has already started to keep a file of watermarks found on 16th century documents submitted to them for study. The authors (Dr. Valentin Molina Pineiro et al.) urged other institutions handling historic documents to take five steps that will aid all such institutions in their work. They are summarized below, in the authors' own words as far as possible.

  1. To reproduce historical documents, if they do not already do so, by photographs, drawings or any other means, to organize their collection or directory of water marks, mentioning the year, place of origin, etc.
  2. To work toward establishing wider communication among persons handling historic documents; and in particular, in the case of water marks, to exchange reproductions giving dimensions and other characteristics.
  3. To encourage the establishment of a world center of information on all aspects of historic documents, including, of course, the water marks.
  4. To ask paper mills making papers to be used in historic documents to use water marks that will assist coming generations in the identification of papers.
  5. To request such paper mills to supply samples of the papers they manufacture to the World Center of Information, in case of its organization.

Actually, these recommendations were not as clearly directed to historical institutions as they sound. The authors probably were emphasizing the changes they wanted to take place, rather than who was expected to make them. The first was addressed to "all institutions who handle historic documents", the fourth to "historic documents" [sic], the fifth to "experts on historic documents of each country" and the rest to no one in particular.

The Instituto's address is Exconvento de San Jeronimo, San Jeronimo No. 47, Mexico I, D.F., Mexico (tel. 521-94-59).

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