The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 7, Number 6
Dec 1983


Conferences and Professional Publications


"Method of Stabilizing Felted Cellulosic Sheet Material with an Alkali Metal Borohydride," U.S. Patent No. 4,401,810, issued to Lucia C. Tang and Margaret A. Troyer August 30, 1983.

The invention is described in both general and specific forms, including a two-bath treatment of aged acidic paper that brightens it and greatly extends its life. Among the best results were those obtained with a 1% wash in sodium borohydride followed by a wash in a dilute calcium hydroxide solution containing 12 ppm calcium, which resulted in a deposition of only about 1/4% calcium carbonate in the paper. (Much less carbonate is required for deacidification in the lab than for carbonate loading in the paper mill, somehow, to achieve the same results.) No obvious advantage was gained by increasing the concentration of the second bath to deacidification strength, 40 ppm.

The patented method is more than twice as effective as deacidification alone in extending the life of paper, as measured by folding endurance after aging in both humid and dry ovens. In addition, it makes the paper whiter, and this brightness is lost very slowly with age.

Magnesium and other alkaline earth deacidification compounds (hydroxides, carbonates and bicarbonates) can be used instead of calcium compounds.

Since the patent does not have the USGPO's document number on it, it can presumably be ordered from the Patent Office (2021 Jefferson David Highway, Arlington, VA 22202). Lucia Tang is in the Research and Testing Office of the Library of Congress, Washington, DC 20540; Margaret Troyer's home address is P0 Box 1395, Washington, DC 20013.


The December 1982 issue of Journal of Documentation carried Anthony Cams' review of Preservation of Library Materials: Proceedings of a Seminar, edited by Joyce R. Russell and published in 1980 by the Special Libraries Association in New York. It was abstracted in the Journal of Academic Librarianship, May 1983 (JAL abstracts a lot of book reviews on library and preservation topics). One sentence is quoted: "Although some of the information presented here is historically or technically inaccurate, misleading, or simply naive, all can benefit from the Americans' enthusiasm and initiative."


Conservation in the Library, A Handbook of Use and Care of Traditional and Nontraditional Materials. Susan Garretson Swartzburg, ad. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1983. 234 p. $35.

Different contributors cover paper, books, photographs, slides, microforms, motion picture film, videotape, sound recordings, videodiscs, and the computer. There is a review copy in the Newsletter office.


Raised Bands: Bulletin of the Craft Bookbinders' Guild Incorporated (P0 Box 322, Kingston, A.C.T. 2604, Australia). About 6" x 8"; computer-set type in a single column, unjustified, reduced; a pleasing layout. The Bulletin's first issue was October l983, "after two years of making do with short newsletters" since the Guild was formed in 1981. Contents: organizational matters, an extract from a letter sent by the 75-year-old Edgar Mansfield, a report of two paper mills visited by members, a report of a talk by a representative of an adhesive company, another of a talk by a leather supplier, and a list of "financial members."


Margaret Hey, "Foxing: Some Unanswered Questions." Antiquarian Book Monthly Review, 10: 340-343, 1983. A provocative review of arguments for both the metal and the mold theory of foxing, which clarifies some issues, adds some new evidence, and provides some answers that generate questions of their own. Clearly there is a need for much more research.


Museum, Archive and Library Security, by Lawrence J. Fennelly. Boston: Butterworths, 1983. 891 p. $52.95. A "contributed" book with the focus on museums, but covering all aspects, including disasters. It has been put on reserve in the Library Service Library at Columbia University for one of the courses.


Anthony Cains, "The Design of the New Laboratory and Workshop at Trinity College Dublin." In Das Alte Buch als Aufgabe für Naturwissenschaft und Forschung. D. E. Petersen, ed. Bremen: Jacobi, 1977. p. 267-279. Floor plans.


Art Hazards News only has four pages per issue, but the October issue has three interesting things in it. Michael McCann's article, "Air Purifiers: Cure or Bane?" covers ion generators, electrostatic precipitators, fabric collectors, HEPA filters, cyclones and activated charcoal filters. Ion generators, he says, produce substantial amounts of ozone, which is injurious to the lungs (and which causes oxidative degradation of materials). They do not recommend them for any purpose. The other purifiers are all right if used properly.

Monona Rossol has a one-page article entitled "Lawsuits: A Growing Concern" (for institutions because of suits by volunteers, students, employees and visitors). She describes nine preventive procedures.

Finally, there is a summary of an article about an outbreak of xylene intoxication in 1980. Somebody in a hospital pathology lab poured a liter of xylene down the drain, and within an hour 15 people in another part of the hospital were sick with symptoms of xylene poisoning. All recovered within two days. Only people working in areas of the hospital served by a certain ventilation system were affected. Moral: organic solvents should not be dumped down drains because you never can tell where it is going to come out.


The July issue of Fine Print features paper. There is a long composite article called "Thoughts on Western Book Paper," with sections contributed by Tim Barrett, Howard Clark, Kathryn Clark, Wallace Dawes, Gary Frost, Susan Guam, Simon B. Green, and Jesse Munn; "Some Early American Mouldmakers," by John Bidwell; "Paper Report: Mohawk Letterpress," by Will H. Powers; a review of Loeber's Paper Mould and Mouldmaker, by Simon B. Green; and a review of Hamady's Hand Papermaking (1982), by Tim Barrett. The Bidwell article includes information on how mouldmakers fabricated watermarks and gives eight reference a.

Fine Print for October contains the following items of interest: "Techniques of Marbling in Early Indian Paintings" by Christopher Weimann, a review by Sue Allen of Sam Ellenport's book on brass plate dies, Susan Otis Thompson's review of Dard Hunter, II's The Life Work of Dard Hunter, Vera Freeman's report of last February's International Paper Conference in Kyoto, W. Thomas Taylor on William Matthews in the series "American Craft Binders," Michael Wilcox's "Binding the Pennyroyal Press Alice" as the featured bookbinding, and a two-part review by W. Thomas Taylor and John P. Chalmers of three GBW exhibits at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1982-83.


Restaurator. vol. 5 #3-4, 1983, contains the following articles:

"Some Special Cases of Biological Deterioration of Books," by Yu. P. Nyuksha, p. 177-182. Describes nine species of fungus in the Aspergillus flavus group, which consume not only books but plastic and metal, are viable under adverse conditions and cannot be controlled by ordinary levels of fungicides.

"Electron Microscopy of Parchment," by N.L. Rebrikova and P. Ya. Muldiyarov, p. 183-190. Parchments in various stages of preservation from the 11th to the 14th centuries were examined to identify changes occurring with aging. Cracks (from drying?) and irregular cavities from lytic activity of microorganisms were found.

"Historical Survey of Research at the National Bureau of Standards on Materials for Archival Records," by William K. Wilson and Edwin J. Parks, p. 191-241. A historical survey of NBS's wide-ranging research on conservation of record materials. This article could almost serve as a textbook, or long crib sheet, on the scientific basis of library and archival conservation. It discusses acidic ink, the predictive value of accelerated aging data, the effect of light on paper, lamination, storage in cornerstones, redox blemishes, and so on. Findings were often not implemented by conservators. 178 references.

"Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Study of Parchment and Leather," by Yu. P. Petushkova and G. M. Nikolaev, p. 242-248. An investigation of the effect of temperature and humidity on water content, "relaxation characteristics of the hydration water layers," and related matters. Abstruse.

Bibliographies and Other Lists


"Bookbinding: A Guide to the Books in Print," compiled by Shelagh Smith and Catherine Yolles. A publication of the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild, 1983. Request copies from David Roberts, 18 Fernwood Gardens, Apt. 1, Toronto, Ont. M4K 2J9, Canada. 34 items, all in English, annotated. This list is of manuals and texts; future lists will cover other topics. The next one will come out with the January issue of the newsletter and will include French books. A longer list of French books published between 1970 and 1983 with English annotations will be free to members, $3.00 to nonmembers.


The same organization was planning earlier to have a list of Canadian suppliers ready by fall this year. Write to The Editor, CBBG, 26 Morningside Ave., Toronto, Ont., M65 1C3, Canada, for information on this.


Audiovisual Programs for Museums: Conservation, Education, Folklife: Sales/Loan Program. Office of Museum Programs, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, 1983. 18 pp., + order forms. Contains four programs on paper conservation and two on books, one of which is new:

CBV-90. Conservation Bookbinding demonstrates the millimeter technique. Intended for both conservators and non-conservators seeking a safe and rational alternative to traditional bookbinding techniques. Audience: conservators, bookbinders and craftspeople. Specialist: John Hyltoft. 57 minutes, I color videotape. Loan: $20. Sale: $110 (US currency).

Write to Audiovisual Loan Program, Office of Museum Programs, 2235 Arts & Industries Bldg., Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20560 (202/357-3101).



Bookbinding in America, 1680-1910, from the Collection of Frederick E. Maser. Bryn Mawr, PA: Bryn Mawr College Library, 1983. 122 p. $27.50. Distributed by the University Press of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22903.

This is the catalog of the current exhibition at Bryn Mawr. 71 books are pictured, 6 in color, and there are photographs of binders, binders' tickets and other details as well.

A review copy is available from the Newsletter office.


Triennale Internationals de la Reliure (catalog). 128 pp. including ads, blank pages and text. Pictures the prizewinning and honorable mention bindings first, the prize- winners in color. None won the gold medal. Nadine Auffret (Fr.) and Horst Pichl (Germ.) won silver medals; Brigitta Elmer (Switz.) and Jens Hansen (Denm.) won bronze medals. Jeannie Sack of the USA, and 10 others from four countries, earned honorable mention. The jury was made up of Robert Constantin, Gotthilf Kurz, Denise Lubett, Hugo Peller and Jean-Pierre Clavel. Write Triennale Internationale de la Reliure, Secretariat, 2, av. Agassiz, Ch -1001 Lausanne, Switzerland, for ordering information.

Standards and Practical Guides


"Empfehlungen für die Buchrestaurierung," bearb. von Alois Fauser. Einband und Buchpflege. Merkblãtter für wissenschaftliche Bibliotheken. Hrsg. vom Verein Deutscher Bibliothekare. H.3, 1970.

Hellmuth Helwig, in Das Alte Buch..., recommends use of these guidelines.


A Framer's Guide to Using Japanese Paper, Wheat Starch Paste, Polyester Film. American Packaging Inc. Until Dec. 30, available for $5.16 from PPFA, P0 Box 7655, Richmond, VA 23231; after that, $5.95.


"Safe Pest Control Procedures for Museum Collections," an 8-page summary of the June conference in New York, of the same name. $1.50 from Center for Occupational Hazards, S Beekman St., New York, NY 10038 (212/227-6220). A taped record of the two-day conference is available for $45 plus $2 postage and handling.

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