The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 8, Number 2
Apr 1984


Fine Engraving Ripoff

See Apology to Fine Engraving, Abbey Newsletter 8(4), June 1984

Last November a subscriber wrote in with a complaint about a supplier who had been favorably mentioned in the Supplies section of this Newsletter. Others have confirmed the complaint with their own experiences. The letter read as follows:

Michael Walker of Fine Engraving apparently ripped us off for $22--not much in the money department, but the aggravation that went with it was terrible. We had written him about two jobs and he quoted us the price on another. We sent a check and then never heard from him again. Attempts to phone finally revealed that he'd had his phone disconnected. A certified letter went to his address and was received--but not by him. We even tracked dean his address on a trip through Richmond--but he was nowhere to be found. The person in the "office" next to his said that he was having some kinds of trouble with his house or some such--we left our names and the other fellow (a fellow Britisher) assured us that we'd hear from Walker. We never did.

Michael Walker is said to have moved his business and family back to England.

A Little Ascona in Portland This Fall

Hugo Peller, recently retired as head of the bookbinding school in Ascona, Switzerland, will be giving two 10-day institutes in Portland, Oregon, during his tour of the U.S. next September and October. The first one, starting September 17, will cover the development of book structure and materials from the 12th to the 18th century. The second, on the design and execution of fine binding, will end on October 10, in time for the Guild of Book Workers meeting in Pittsburgh October 12-13. Cost: $350 for each institute. Maximum 12 registrants each.

The institutes will take place in the Thompson Conservation Lab, 1417 N.W. Everett, Portland, Oregon 97209 (503/248-0046). The host is Jack C. Thompson. Inquiries about accommodations can also be addressed to him.

Summer Courses at RIT

Werner Rebsamen will teach basic bookbinding at the Rochester Institute of Technology Bookbinding Lab June 18 to 29. The scope will be broad, including sewing, adhesive binding, mending and boxes. The price is not given.

Other summer RIT courses include advanced calligraphy under Hermann Zapf, hand papermaking, and photographic conservation. For catalog write Dr. William A. Pakan, Director, School of Printing, Rochester Institute of Technology, P0 Box 9887, Rochester, NY 14623 (716/475- 2727).

Library Binder Gives Bookbinding Classes

Campbell-Logan Bindery, 212 Second St. North, Minneapolis, MN 55401, gives classes in bookbinding, all levels, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. For further information contact Michael Norman at the Bindery.

How Preservation is Taught in U.S. Library Schools

A telephone survey was made from the Northeast Document Conservation Center last year to gain information on preservation courses in library schools. It covered background information, qualifications of the instructors, and content of the course. A written report is being prepared for publication in the ALISE Journal by Ann Russell.

Anniversary Year for P/D Paper

Twenty-five years ago this May 6, the first modern permanent/durable paper was produced, in the experimental paper mill of the Herty Foundation in Savannah, Georgia. The specifications were furnished by William J. Barrow and included the use of Aquapel-Kymene instead of alum-rosin size. Verner Clapp, in "The Story of Permanent/Durable Book Paper" (Restaurator Suppl. 3, 1972), says, "The first experimental paper, both sized and unsized, substantially exceeded the minimum specifications, both for initial strength and for aging, and was found to have good printability as well. Its furnish consisted of 50 per cent Swedish sulphate pulp for the sake of strength, 50 per cent soda pulp to provide a cushion for printing, and calcium carbonate to assure mild alkalinity and serve as a buffer against possible future acid."

Other experimental runs were made, and by December they were ready for a run in a commercial mill. Using a mixed furnish as before, with 10 per cent each of clay and calcium carbonate, the Standard Paper Manufacturing Co. of Richmond produced five tons of a fine 60-lb. book paper which exceeded all specs and sold in the medium price range. "Permalife" is descended from that paper.

Mr. Barrow died in 1967. His lab closed in 1977, but his restoration shop carries on in Richmond. Mrs. Ruth Barrow has retired. Randolph Church, under whose name several reports of the lab are often catalogued in libraries, was the state librarian at the time. Now 77 years old and officially retired, he recently published a book, Legislative Petitions to the General Assembly, 1776-1781 (Richmond: Virginia State Library).

How to Contact the IPH

Mrs. Ch. Kälin, secretary of the IPH (International Association of Paper Historians) wrote in March to give some basic facts about the organization. Her husband, Dr. Hans B. Kälin, Basle, is honorary President of the IPH. Since 1980, Dr. Richard Hills has been president. His address is: F.A.O. Dr. Richard Hills, M.A., Greater Manchester Museum of Science & Industry, Liverpool Road Station, Castlefield, GB Manchester M3 4JP, England.

Computer Fair at SAA Meeting

From the January SAA Newsletter:

At the 1984 meeting, SAA will host a computer fair that will bring together vendors of popular computer hardware and software products. A number of systems specifically designed for the automated management of archives will he presented. To make the fair as beneficial as possible to conference participants, the Program Committee encourages SAA members to come prepared to demonstrate their own EDP applications. Archivists who perform any office or archival function on a computer are urged to notify the Computer Fair coordinators of the type of equipment and software they use. The coordinators then will make every effort to insure that the vendors of those products are present at the meeting. For more information, contact David Herschler, National Archives (NCD), Washington, DC 20408 (202/724-1623), or Richard Keener, The Faxon Company, 15 Southwest Park, Westwood, MA 02090 (617/329-3350).

Princeton Preservation Group

This relatively new group, which meets at Rider College in Lawrenceville, NJ, has no dues. It solves the problem of supper conflicting with best meeting times by serving a buffet supper at 5:30 in the Faculty Dining Room before the meeting starts, for a mere $3.70. Most people drive from nearby towns, including Philadelphia. For information write Violet K. Devlin, Franklin F. Moore Library, Rider College, Box 6400, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648. (So far the emphasis has been on books and paper, but they welcome museum conservators and historic preservationists too.)

New Address for the Guild of Book Workers

The GBW used to be at 663 Fifth Avenue, 10022; now they are at

521 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10175.

Northwestern Is Serious About Environmental Control

The Deering Library Preservation Project is a $2 million effort to preserve the priceless collections housed within the Charles Deering Library ". . .so as to secure these treasures for the scholarly research of future generations."

More than $1.23 million has been raised for the comprehensive preservation program, which will seek to diminish and control the adverse effects of pollution, ultraviolet light and fluctuations in temperature and humidity on the books, manuscripts and artifacts in the Deering collection. The Deering Library was built in 1932, before air conditioning was common.

This information is from the January Northwestern Alumni News. The article lists the names of all the prominent members of the Project, and their class years.

ICCM National Conference in Sydney, April 1984

The annual conference of the Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Material, just over, had in its program the following papers:

Jörg Schmeisser (Lecturer in printmaking) - Printed to Last?

John Pierre Forster (Ilford) - Cibachrome: dye stability and Storage Characteristics

Nathan Stolow (Australian National Gallery) - Conservation Criteria for Travel and Exhibition of Contemporary Works of Art

Dr. Jan Lyall (National Library of Australia) - The Application of Vacuum Packaging in the Transportation of Works of Art

Pip Hinman (Canberra student) - Repair of Plant Fiber Materials Using Adhesive Films Reactivated by Heat and Solvents

News From the Big Organizations: NIC, Getty, IFLA

The National Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Property (A&I-2225, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20560) has a new brochure that tells what its goals and plans are, how it is organized and who can join. In a former life, as NCAC, it issued a series of booklets identifying national conservation priorities. Now it will work on them by facilitating cooperation and planning, science and education, and dissemination of information. Only organizations can join--but this includes area conservation membership organizations (guilds, associations, etc.). To get representation in this national forum, a group can join and send a delegate, who will be a voting member. "The NIC Council provides the only national mechanism for communication and cooperation among institutions concerned with conservation in the United States."

The IIC Bulletin for February summarized a statement issued by the J. Paul Getty Conservation Institute in August 1983. Some excerpts: "The Getty will concentrate its training activity at the advanced level because basic conservation training programs already exist in the USA and elsewhere. The Getty plans a two-part approach to training: firstly, a program of mid-career training...; and secondly, a program of extended internships, advanced apprenticeships and professional exchange.... The Getty laboratory will have two primary functions: rendering technical analytical services to conservation specialists, and conducting research.... The research program will be directed by Frank Preusser, formerly at the Doerner Institute in Munich. The first long-term research project that has been selected is coatings. Another project already under way is the study of materials used in exhibitions and storage and their effect on art objects....

"The Getty will develop a major information resource in conservation, in collaboration with other institutions which... will address three primary concerns: the lack of access to a comprehensive collection of conservation literature, much of which exists in limited editions, foreign language publications or out-of-print books and journals; the lack of information about information, i.e., directories, indexes, etc.; and the gap between research and publication. The Getty proposes to develop a library which, in addition to collecting books, documents, periodicals, offprints and unpublished papers, will make out-of-print materials available and may provide translation services.... All of these would be computerized and made available internationally."

The International Federation of Library Associations met in Munich in August, and the Directors of National Libraries had their 10th meeting during the same period, since they were all there anyhow. Acting chair was Guy Sylvestre. Austrian representatives hoped the Conference of Directors of National Libraries would hold a symposium on national libraries and develop a policy for preservation. Attendees (unidentified in the report published in the LC Information Bulletin) were afraid that such a meeting would be dominated by technical rather than policy issues and wanted the function of invited technical experts to be advisory. Dr. Sylvestre noted that preservation is likely to form a new and major IFLA program.

Right to Work at Home Faces Legal Challenge

Crafts Report has been following the struggle of craft workers against legislative efforts to prevent them from working in their own homes. The National Association for the Cottage Industry, organized in 1982 to resist federal, state and city legislation, will hold its third regional conference at the Conrad Hilton Hotel in Chicago on Friday and Saturday, May 11-12, during National Small Business Week. The conference is being co-sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration, University of Illinois Cooperative Extension Service, and several state and local agencies. They will discuss, among other matters, the Freedom of Workplace Act (Senate Bill 214S) and a restrictive Illinois House Bill. For membership and conference information, send a SASE to the National Association for the Cottage Industry, P0 Box 14830, Chicago, IL 60614 (312/472-8116).

More information is in the April Crafts Report. It does not, however, explain the reason for the recent rash of restrictive laws. It does give some facts on how rapidly the home business community has grown since 1963. Perhaps this rapid growth, and the fact that most home workers are women, has produced a backlash.

Funds Requested for Diethyl Zinc Facility

The Library of Congress is seeking supplemental 1984 funds in the amount of $11.5 million for construction of a diethyl zinc facility to deacidify approximately 500,000 books per year. The facility would be located in Fort Detrick, Maryland. Sen. Charles Mathias Jr. (R-Md.) introduced the bill.

Permission to Work in the States

It is very hard for a foreigner to obtain permission to work in the United States. The prospective employer has to do a great deal of highly sophisticated paperwork for the principal purpose of proving to the State Department that it is impossible to find an American as skilled as the foreign jobseeker. Not many prospective employers are highly enough motivated to attempt this. Bookbinders from England the Continent please take note.

Perhaps a recent visitor or emigre who has been through the whole process could send in an explanation of what you have to go through to get a job in the United States, something like Jane Dalley's article in Vol. 1 #3 of the Journal of the Association des Relieurs du Quebec entitled "A Bookbinder's Guide to the Galaxy - #1. Dealing with Customs." (Ms. Dalley's address is The Design Centre, 1600 Notre Dame W. #311, Montreal, Que. H3J 1M1, Canada (514/937-3602)).

GSA Admits Failing Responsibilities to National Archives

Gerald Carmen, formerly Administrator of the General Services Administration, left GSA on February 29 for another government position. His place will be taken by Jack Courtemanche, a presidential aide and former chief executive in the transportation industry. In the meantime, acting Administrator Ray Kline has testified in hearings on the House's version of the bill to restore the independence of the National Archives (H.R. 3987), recommending that the Archives remain under GSA. If it did become independent, he said, several of its current functions should remain behind in GSA, including the vital one of records management (keeping track of the records that will become tomorrow's archives).

A February GSA report to Congress, required by a 1982 law, describes weaknesses of internal control and suggests remedial action, and confesses so much mishandling of the National Archives that it will probably cancel out the effect of Kline's recommendations. It says valuable records are disintegrating because the agency doesn't have the money to move quickly to preserve them. "If there is not timely and cost-effective preservation, GSA will fail to meet the statutory requirement of the Federal Records Act to preserve the documentary heritage of the federal government," the report states. The study says GSA has allowed safety problems to continue to plague the Archives building, that it has devoted "insufficient personnel resources" to the declassification of records, and that customers are increasingly dissatisfied with the slow processing of military records. The Archives had more than 1,800 overdue search and copy requests, according to the report.

The GSA study blames some of the cited deficiencies on budget and personnel cuts--something that former Administrator Gerald Carmen has repeatedly denied is a factor.

This information was from the March SAA Newsletter and the March Director's Report of the National Coordinating committee for the Promotion of History.

A Remarkable Act of Conscience Concerning Bad Bindings

Publishers' bindings in this country are driving the librarians crazy. A growing percentage are so bad that the book cannot be used at all; they fall apart the first time they are opened. Some last through a few circulations, some only one. One librarian reported at an ALA meeting a few years ago that she returned a certain bad binding back to the publisher three times--or was it six?--and the publisher did nothing more than replace it with an identical copy from the same production run, and it of course fell apart as quickly as the previous copy.

Well, there is a bright spot in this dismal picture. In England there seems to be a book dealer or agent that replaced faulty bindings with good ones and took out a full-page ad in the Library Association Record in 1982 to let librarians know about it. It says:


Gamble Street, Nottingham, NG7 4FJ, U.K. Telephone:(0602) 708021 Telex 37377


Following Robert Hale's announcement in the November issue of the L.A. Record regarding a recent spate of faultily bound titles and our own advice about these sent direct to libraries in October


are pleased to announce that the following titles originally faulty are now available again, this time in perfect condition and may be obtained from us immediately. Other titles listed by us will be advised as and when they become available again.

Andrews, A. A. Under the Gun Hale [etc.--all apparently detective stories and cheap novels published in Britain, 20 titles total]

We would like to thank those publishers who co-operated in dealing so quickly with this problem once we had discovered it.

Commercial Binding of LC's Books

The Commerce Business Daily last June 16 announced the last invitation to bid on library binding that we will see from the Library of Congress for a while. The Government Printing Office has taken over this function, not at LC's request.

This year LC's binding contracts were awarded to the Heckman Bindery, Inc., of North Manchester, Indiana, and Wert Bookbinding, Inc., of Middletown, Pennsylvania. (Because few individual binderies have the capacity for LC's amount of binding work, two contracts have usually been awarded.) Conservation work is being sent to Heckman this year.

AASLH Conservation Consultant Service

The American Association for State and Local History (708 Berry Road, Nashville, TN 37204) operates a grant- subsidized consultant service for care and conservation of collections in museums and historical agencies that cannot otherwise afford to bring in an expert. The consultant, previously approved by the applicant, comes in for one or two days, and later submits a written report. The "fee" consists of the consultant's lodging and meals; in addition, larger institutions pay half the transportation. Applicants are screened in January, April, July and October.

Consultants may advise on artifact conservation, preventive maintenance, collections management, registration, storage and environmental controls, nomenclature and computerization of collections.

SAA Workshop Calendar

The workshops on administration of photographic collections, open to individuals currently working with photographic collections, are introductory and cost $50.

Apr. 30-May 2 - Chicago, IL
May 21-23 - Palo Alto, CA
June 11-13 - Fairbanks, AK
Aug. 28-30 - Washington, DC

The basic archival conservation workshops will be $75 and are scheduled for

June 1-3 - New York City
Early Oct. - Southern CA

For more information, contact Linda Ziemer, Society of American Archivists, 600 5. Federal, Suite 304, Chicago, IL 6060S (312/922-0140).

AIC on Certification, Documentation & Mass Conservation

In the February newsletter of the American Institute of Conservation, there are two committee reports of interest to book and paper conservators. The Committee on Accreditation and Certification is preparing a report on certification, and has written a preliminary report for certification of all conservation professionals.

The Ethics and Standards Committee has been looking into the quality of photodocumentation and amount of detail in the treatment report for a) owner and b) shop records. It is also asking for members' remarks on the subject of "mass" conservation. (Emphasis supplied.)

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