The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 6, Number 6
Dec 1982


GPO and Acidic Inks

The November issue of Primary Source: Newsletter of the Society of, Mississippi Archivists, has thrown a little light on the cryptic notice that appeared on the front page of the last issue of this Newsletter, about the Paper Mate medium blue ink pen being acid-free while the red one was not. Government documents librarians, it seems, look for guidance in matters of preservation to the Government Printing Office, which is trying to respond, but which has in recent years been so isolated from the developments in preservation and conservation that its advice is useless.

The News Notes section of Primary Source quotes over a page from an article by one of these disappointed documents librarians:

Bruce Morton, "The GPO, Documents Librarians, and Hyperacidity: Acid Free Inks for Microform Processing." Documents to the People 10:5 (ALA Government Documents Round Table)

Mr. Morton says:

The U.S. Government Printing Office has brought to the attention of documents librarians the desirability of using acid free ink for marking microfiche envelopes (see February Public Documents Highlights).... In the June 1982 issue of LSDS Administrative Notes [not GPO Administrative Notes, as ANL earlier reported] (vol. 3, no. 6) the GPO states that they "have been flooded with many letters asking,: 'Where do I find acid free ink?"' In answer to that question the GPO offers the information (misinformation) that "the only one (pen) which we have identified as acid free is the Paper Mate medium point red ink pen." The GPO gave no advice on an acceptable stamp pad ink except to suggest that librarians "go to the yellow pages and look under 'Chemists--Analytical and Consulting,' and have them test the particular brand of ink you are using..

My initial reaction was "thanks for nothing."

He did some investigating of his own, talked to the Paper Mate chemist, had his chemistry department do some testing and came up with some inks for ball point pens, fiber tip pens and stamp pads that he was able to have some confidence in. (Of course acidity is not the only characteristic affecting permanence, but it's a start.)

The SMA's address is P0 Box 1151, Jackson, MS 39205.

Residencies for Book Artists

Proposals are being solicited for residencies at the Women's Studio Workshop Print Center to produce hand-made artists' hooks. Five hundred to a thousand dollars will be available for one- and two-month residencies. Send resume, five slides, project description, and brief budget by January 15, 1983 to Women's Studio Workshop, P0 Box V, Rosendale, NY 12472.

Salary Levels By Type of Institution

The November 1982 SAA Newsletter reports results of two recent surveys of archivists' salaries (1979 and 1982). It includes figures only for full-time workers who are paid, and omits outside earnings from consulting. The highest salaries were paid by the federal government, by far. The rest, in order, are: business, state governments, colleges and universities, municipal and county governments, and religious institutions.

None of the types of institutions paid women as much as men, but the federal government was ahead again here with a salary ratio of 86.8% as the average of the two years. Other institutions ranged in nearly the same order as for salary level, ending with religious institutions at 67.3%.

LC Staff Presents Tape Removal Methods

On October 7, 1982, at the first 1982-83 meeting of the Washington Conservation Guild, four Library of Congress staff members from the Restoration Office gave the following presentations in a program entitled "Pressure Sensitive Tape & Its Removal."

Merrily A. Smith History of pressure sensitive tape
Aging of pressure sensitive tape
eport on L.C. aging study
Norvell Jones Tape removal by immersion
Susan Page Tape removal by poultice
Marian Dirda Tape removal by vacuum table

Dard Hunter Group Gains English Representative

The Friends of the Dard Hunter Paper Museum was formed on May 27, 1981 (see October 1981 issue of this Newsletter). This museum is the world's foremost collection of paper, papermaking tools and books on paper, and it is located in the Institute for Paper Chemistry in Appleton, Wisconsin. Last May, at the AIC Milwaukee meeting, one of the tours took a group through the museum.

The Friends group welcomes new members. For information, contact either Kathryn Clark, Twinrocker, Brookston, IN 47923, USA, or Catherine Rickman, Prints and Drawings Conservation Department, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, SW7, England.

Officers of the group are:

Timothy Barrett, President
Kathryn Clark & Karen Garlick, Vice Presidents
Cathy Baker, Secretary
Elaine Koretsky, Treasurer

Diethyl Zinc Run Complete

After many delays, the mass deacidification trial at Goddard Space Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, took place and was completed about the middle of October. This was a joint project, involving not only the Library of Congress but several other institutions in financing and contributing books to the lot. No official report has been received yet.

According to the October 6 ALA Washington Newsletter, Congress has provided $350,000 to allow the Library of Congress to treat up to 50,000 books in its mass deacidification program in 1983.

AIC News

The American Institute for Conservation will move on January 1, 1983 to: Klingle Mansion, 3545 Williamsburg Lane, Washington, DC 20008. This is a historic building with enough room for office, meetings and activities. It is not only on the edge of Rock Creek Park, which is good, but it is in an area where many book and paper conservators live, to judge from the Abbey Newsletter mailing list. But it is not as handy to visit on a casual basis.

The Board met with the Specialty Group Coordinators last May and set policies regarding dues and other funds. Dues for the groups will be collected and disbursed by the AIC. Groups must apply formally to the AIC treasurer to obtain any funds; amounts over $25.00 must also be co- signed by the Treasurer. All financial obligations must be in the form of a contract.

The FAIC refresher in "Systems for Accomplishing Repairs in Prints and Drawings" was held July 18th-23rd, at the Nelson Gallery, Kansas City. Instructors were Keiko Keyes and Joe D. K. Nkrumah. Other refreshers in topics related to book conservation may be held in the future, depending on what future sponsors want. FAIC will help.

Artist Gets IRS to Restore Disallowed Deductions

A Long Island artist, Mrs. Pauline Emmert, has been painting for 16 years. This year the IRS decided that she was a hobbyist, not a professional artist, since she had shown a profit in only two out of the past seven years. They insisted that she pay back-taxes for 1979 and 1980 on her professional expenses which they chose to disallow.

In view of the fact that under the law the intent to sell is as important as profits, Mrs. Emmert demanded a hearing. She checked with Artists Equity Association, of which she is a member, and was advised to base her case on three premises:

  1. Art training
  2. Availability of work and efforts to sell
  3. Business dealings and records

[The October Crafts Review, from which the above is excerpted, gives details of how she built and won her case. Married women, it says, are particularly victimized by the IRS with this kind of accusation.]

New Courses Mix Rare Books and Preservation

The School of Library Service at Columbia University will open its new Rare Book School in July, 1983 for a two-month "season." Among the week-long, non-credit courses to be given are Historical Comparative Bookbinding Structures and Their Preservation, to be taught by Sue Allen, Christopher Clarkson, and Gary Frost; and Preservation for Rare Book Librarians and Archivists, to be taught by Pamela W. Darling and Carolyn Harris. Other courses include Aspects of Incunabula, taught by Felix de Marez Oyens and Paul Needham; Aspects of the 16th-Century Book, taught by Nicolas Barker and Ruth Mortimer; and Aspects of the 19th-Century Book, taught by Michael Turner and Michael Winship.

The courses, eight in all, will run from Monday morning to Friday lunch. Each will have two full-time instructors and will be limited to about 16 students. Tuition for each course will be $325. There are no formal education requirements, but students will be admitted selectively and the courses are conceived as master classes. Another group of courses, on a different set of topics, will be offered in 1984 and in subsequent years.

The courses have been coordinated by Terry Belanger, Assistant Dean at the School of Library Service and editor of the Bibliography Newsletter.

Many of the instructors are well-known in bookbinding, preservation and conservation circles. Sue Allen, the author of Victorian Bookbindings: A Pictorial Survey (Chicago 1972; rev. ed. 1976), has published and lectured widely on 19th-century American and British bindings. Christopher Clarkson is Conservator at the Bodleian Library, Oxford University; he was formerly Conservator at the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore, and he has also worked in conservation at the Library of Congress; he is an authority on medieval bookbinding structures. Gary Frost, until recently in the Conservation Department of the Newberry Library, is now teaching in the preservation and conservation programs of the Columbia University School of Library Service.

Pamela W. Darling is Special Consultant to the National Preservation Program of the Library of Congress. She has recently completed a two-year project that resulted in the Preservation Planning Program reported in a recent issue of this Newsletter. Carolyn Harris is Head of the Preservation Department, Columbia University Libraries. She is Secretary of the ALA Preservation of Library Materials Section (PLMS) and a member of the Preservation Committee of the Research Libraries Group.

Paul Needham, author of Twelve Centuries of Bookbinding (New York 1979), is Keeper of Printed Books at the Pierpont Morgan Library. Nicolas Barker is Head of Conservation at the British Library Reference Division and Editor of The Book Collector.

Michael Turner, formerly Head of Special Collections at the Bodleian Library, Oxford University, is now Head of Conservation at the Bodleian. Michael Winship, who has worked as a hand-binder both at the Harcourt Bindery and independently, is at present the Editor of the Bibliography of American Literature.

Low-cost air-conditioned dormitory housing will be available on campus. For a schedule of classes and other information, write Rare Book School, School of Library Service, Columbia University, 516 Butler Library, New York NY 10027 (212/280-2292).

Active Conservation Committees

Two organizations have sent or published impressive reports of their conservation committees. The August issue of The Primary Source, Newsletter of the Society of Mississippi Archivists, reported that its Conservation Committee met nearly every month since its inception in February; it petitioned the Western Conservation Congress to become a state chapter; it exhibited archival products at the Society's annual meeting, and is working on conservation leaflets, disaster workshops and preparation of a slide show for workshops. Among its members outside the state is Gene Cain, who gave a paper on foxing at the AIC meeting in May. Memberships are $3.00 for students, $7.50 for individuals and $15.00 for institutions; write Joseph J. Mika, Treasurer, Society of Mississippi Archivists, Southern Station, Box 5146, Hattiesburg, MS 39406-5146. The membership year runs Oct. 1 to Sept. 30.

The other active conservation committee belongs to ACA, the Association of Canadian Archivists, and includes nine conservators and one archivist. Among its goals and objectives for this year are:

The chairman is Charles Brandt. Membership for both Canadian and U.S. citizens is $12; for institutions, $20. ACA members receive Archivaria twice a year and Archives Bulletin twice a year. Write Office Manager, Archivaria, Room 349, Public Archives of Canada, 395 Wellington St., Ottawa, Ontario, Canada KlA 0N3.

Property Insurance for Conservators

Huntington Block Insurance of Washington, D.C., has arranged a property insurance program for the members of the AIC, but other conservators can use it too. Their new brochure says:

Insurance is provided on property of others in your care, custody and control which is accepted by you for conservation.

If you purchase coverage on property of others, you will also have the option of obtaining insurance on two additional types of property:

  1. Your studio furnishings and your art library
  2. Your laboratory equipment such as cameras, microscopes, etc....

The exclusions applying to property of others and equipment (cameras and microscopes, etc.) are (a) wear and tear, gradual deterioration, moths, vermin, inherent vice or damage sustained due to or resulting from any repairing, restoration, retouching or framing process, (b) war risks and nuclear radiation, (c) shipments by ordinary mail....

Coverage applies within the SO states of the United States and Canada....

Property of others in transit must be packed by competent persons. If you transport such property yourself, it must never be out of your possession.

The rate for insuring the property of others is 600 per $100 of insurance, with an annual minimum premium of $65. For more information, write Huntington T. Block Insurance, 2101 L Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20037 or call 202/223-0673 or 800/424-8830.

Ademco Moves

Ademco Drimount Limited has just moved from High Wycombe to:

Unit 1, Wessex Road
Jacksons Industrial Estate
Bourne End, Bucks.

NARS News: Staff Levels, Lame Duck Budget, Independence

The latest fact sheets from the National Coordinating Committee for the Promotion of History (NCC) give the following picture on the status of the National Archives.

There were indications in the late summer that the General Services Administration, the parent agency of the National Archives, was attempting to impose an additional across-the-board reduction in staffing of six percent at NARS. Being a labor-intensive agency, NARS can ill afford to lose any staff. Since September of 1981, NARS has already dismissed 20 percent of its personnel. Thus it was considered a major victory when the Report attached to the Senate Appropriations Bill was passed by the committee on September 16. The recommendations included the following: that the committee

will monitor further staffing levels at NARS to insure that no further reductions are made, and that necessary increases in staffing which reasonably reflect the increased funding for NARS take place.

[To give an idea of how understaffed the National Archives is, there is only one trained conservator there, Tim Vitale; and there are three billion documents to care for.]

Independence bills, 5. 1421 and H.R. 6894, show little hope of being considered by the subcommittees during the lame-duck session, although indications are that the Senate and the House will reintroduce these independence bills in the new Congress.

In October it looked like the level of funding for NARS and NHPRC (a combined figure) for the period October 1 to December 15, 1982, was going to be $86 million. [Last year NARS had to operate under about five different budgets, because of all the continuing resolutions and emergency appropriations. This year looks like more of the same. Last year's budget was $82 N; 1981, $89 N.]

Congressional committees with responsibility for NARS are:

House of Representatives - Appropriations. Chairman, Edward R. Roybal (D-CA)

House of Representatives - Subcommittee on Government Information and Individual Rights. Chairman, Glenn English (D-OK). Ranking, Thomas Kindness (R-OH).

Senate - Appropriations - Subcom. on Treasury, Postal Service, and General Government. Chairman, James Abdnor (R-SD).

Senate - Govt. Affairs - Oversight Subcom. on Civil Service, Post Office, and General Services. Chairman, Ted Stevens (R-AK).

Names of all the committee members can be had from the NCC at 400 A Street, SE, Washington, DC 20003. Tel.: 202/544- 2422.

SOLANDER CASE. Originally invented by Daniel Charles Solander (1736-82), a pupil of Linnaeus, for the preservation of botanical specimens in the British Museum, where he was an assistant librarian. Subsequently adopted for housing prints, and in due course books also. The solander is strictly a box, of the fall-down-back or fall-down- front type, rather than a case.... In its full-dress form, whether of full or half leather, it has a rounded back, projecting squares like a book, and a spring catch or catches.

CASES AND BOXES. .The four commonest kinds are: (1) the slip case, (2) the fall-down-back box (of which the solander case or box is an aristocratic version), (3) The pull- off case, and (4) for pamphlets and wrappered books of slender bulk, the four-fold wrapper or portfolio with flaps.... The fall-down-back box has a double-hinged spine, so that it lies flat when opened.

--From ABC for Book Collectors, by John Carter. 6th ed. NY: Granada, 1980.

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