The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 8, Number 3
Jun 1984


Independent National Archives Seems More Likely

The May SAA Newsletter reports that both houses of Congress have reported their NARS independence bills out of committee, giving nearly unanimous votes in favor of the bills. The next step is to take a vote on the floor of each house.

The National Archives and Records Service, which operated for the first 16 or so years of its life as an independent agency, has been administered since 1949 by the General Services Administration (GSA). A new Administrator has been appointed by President Reagan to replace Gerald Carmen, who left in February (AN, April issue): Jack L. Courtemanche.

At the House hearings in March, SAA President David B. Gracy II argued that "Administrators of GSA, charged to direct an agency focused on supply and housekeeping, have lacked background, inclination, and with an average tenure of less than two years, the time to make sound archival and records management policy."

Book and Paper Group Discusses Ethics

The American Institute for Conservation will be reexamining its Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice this fall, and the Book and Paper Group will be represented in the discussions. BPG members can send their ideas to Tim Vitale (Conservation Analytical Laboratory, Museum Support Center, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, 20560, tel. 202/287-2700). They can also volunteer, though not all volunteers will be chosen. During the discussion of the suitability of the present Code for application in the field of book and paper conservation, the following questions and comments were expressed:

How much of the Code is practically applicable?

Sometimes we have to perform a small routine operation on a large number of objects--like rehinging 100 matted prints.

Are we supposed to document this work with pictures before, during and after each hinge replacement?

We may not be able to have one code for all specialties.

Objects of limited value may call for a code different from that used with objects of great value.

Protein Seminar

The Objects Specialty Group of the AIC sponsored a pre-meeting seminar on May 15, 1984, entitled "Protein Chemistry for Conservators." The organizers (Carolyn Rose and David Von Endt) and contributors (Mary Lou Florian, Robert Lollar, Howard Needles, David Von Endt and Gregory Young) did a good job. Over an 11-hour stretch, with time out for meals and breaks, they presented a great deal of generally useful material, without being either too simple or too technical. Over half of the material related directly or indirectly to leather bindings and parchment; the rest related to materials usually found in museum collections and made up of keratins (wool, hair, feathers and horn) and fibroin (silk). All the material presented, except for some of the slides, was given to participants as preprints beforehand. The preprint volume, Protein Chemistry for Conservators, has 122 pages and is available from the AIC ($10 for Objects Group members, $15 for non- members; add $1.50 for shipping within continental U.S.).

Capricornus Consolidates

An announcement card from Capricornus (PO Box 98, Berkeley, CA 94701, 415/658-7930) says:

Thee and Anne Kahle are happy to announce the consolidation of the Capricornus studios. This long planned move is intended to improve our overall capacity.

Although we shall continue teaching on an individual basis, we are closing our Fulton Street Studio effective June 1, 1984, and will thereafter be available by appointment only.

Additional Hugo Peller Workshops Possible

Hugo Peller, former head of the bookbinding school in Ascona, Switzerland, still has two periods during his coming visit to the United States when he will be available for workshops, demonstrations or slide shows: September 1-16 and October 20 or 21 to October 30. Groups that would like to arrange for one of these should contact Silvia Rennie, in Chicago, at 312/771-3565.

Mr. Peller will give two 10-day institutes in Portland, September 17 to October 10, on early structures and materials and on fine binding. For information on these contact Jack Thompson, 1417 N.W. Everett, Portland, OR 97209 (503/248-0046).

Paleography and Codicology in Kalamazoo

The Nineteenth International Congress on Medieval Studies was held May 10-13, 1984 on the campus of Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, with a composite program provided by the annual sessions of 21 different societies all concerned in one way or another with the Middle Ages, some of which are:

The Franciscan Institute
The International Courtly Literature Society
The International Center for Medieval Art
The International Arthurian Society (N. Amer. Branch)
The John Gower Society
The American Community of Canons Regular

Session 106, "Medieval Music and Musicology IV: Topics in Codicology and Paleography," was chaired by John Sharpe (who has been studying medieval Greek manuscript books in an island monastery library periodically over the last few years; with Guy Petherbridge, he has been recording their structure). One of the papers was by Robert Espinosa, formerly of the Library of Congress, now at Brigham Young University. It described in detail the binding on a 15th century vellum manuscript from the Erfuhrt region, which contained two pieces of church music. It was a codicological study.

Next year's conference has been scheduled for May 9-12, 1985. If rooms and meals are as cheap than as they were for this meeting, they will set some sort of a record. Single rooms in the dorms were $11, single occupancy, and meals were $2.50, $3.25 and $4.75 for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For information, contact Prof. Otto Grundler, Director, The Medieval Institute, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Ml 49008 (616/383-4980).

Directory of Artists Working in Book Form

A biographical directory of artists working in book form is in progress. Entry forms for inclusion in this directory can be had from Janet Dalberto, Virginia Commonwealth University, Library, 901 Park Ave., Richmond, VA 23284.

Educational Opportunities at the Campbell Center

The Campbell Center for Historic Preservation Studies had its beginnings in 1979, when a group of citizens in Mt. Carroll, Illinois, formed the Restoration College Association and raised enough money to buy the former Shimer College campus at a bankruptcy auction.

Campbell Center is now the only school in the United States devoted exclusively to education in historic preservation, conservation and restoration. Intensive workshops, one to ten days in length, have been held each summer since 1980. Their primary focus has been historical preservation, but the center is moving as rapidly as possible toward year-round operation with a full curriculum in "the arts and sciences of conservation and restoration."

The next major expansion of the educational program is scheduled for the fall of 1984, when instructional sequences of six to eight weeks in length are planned in three principal areas: museum studies, architectural conservation and furniture conservation. They will feature modular scheduling, opportunities for interdisciplinary study and laboratory, hands-on or on-site instruction. Many of the 12 workshops cover topics of general importance for all fields of conservation. Six are listed below. Deadline for registration is one month before each workshop. Board and lodging are available at $24 per day. Discounts are available. Write Campbell Center, P0 Box 66, Mt. Carroll, IL 61053 (815/255-1173).

Date Title Cost Instructor
Sep. 26 Fundraising for Nonprofits $64 Boris Frank
Sep. 27-28 Computers & Cultural Resource Management 128 Ralph Megna
Oct. 1-3 Disasters 192 George Cunha
Oct. 3-5 Control of Biological Damage in Museums 160 Jas. Wermuth
Oct. 22-26 Art & Text [Book & Paper Conservation] 320 Anne Clapp, 0. H. Norris & Norvell Jones
Nov. 1-2 Understanding & Using Adhesives 128 Don Sebera

UV Filtering Sheets Vary in Effectiveness

Kate Fraser and Elizabeth Bawden report in the March Paper Conservation News the results of their tests on five UV-filtering sheeted products, including Plexiglas ("Testing the UV Barriers in a Selection of Acrylic and Polycarbonate Sheetings Used to Glaze Art on Paper"). They found that the materials varied widely in efficacy, as measured with 1) a Crawford UV monitor under natural and fluorescent light, and 2) various samples of paper partly covered with the sheetings and left in daylight for two months. The best material was not an acrylic but a polycarbonate. The readings obtained are given below. The article does not explain what "uw/lm" means, though "lm" must mean "lumen," a measure of luminous flux from a point source.

Lexan - polycarbonate below 45 uw/lm
ICI VE Perspex - acrylic (tint) below 50 uw/lm
ICI VA Perspex - acrylic (clear) over 55 uw/lm
Plexiglas - acrylic (clear) over 65 uw/lm
Impetex - sandwich of glass and soft plastic (polyvinyl butyral) over 80 uw/lm
Control - glass over 100 uw/lm

The authors say .... .Very important to note is that [acrylic sheeting's] UV filter appears to wear out and lose its effectiveness in a period of time. This span has yet to be established." They note that there is a new American product, not tested by them, which is said to have a good UV filter, to be nonstatic and have other good properties. Information on this product, Gedolin, is available from Frances K. Schab-Remeny, 450 West End Avenue, New York, NY 10024.

Report From Barrow Restoration, Inc.

To more accurately reflect the nature of the business, the W. J. Barrow Restoration Shop is changing its name to Barrow Restoration, Inc. The business, which has been in existence since 1931, is now owned by W. J. Barrow's widow, Ruth G. Barrow, who recently retired from the day-to-day operation of the shop. Their son, James

A. Barrow, is president of the company and two other sons, William A. Barrow and Bernard G. Barrow, are on the board of directors.

The restoration manager is Roger Daniel, who has been with the shop since 1947. Another long-term employee is John Field, an expert leather bookbinder who has been with the company for fourteen years.

Barrow Restoration specializes in restoring old books and documents by the Barrow method of deacidification, followed by either lamination according to the Barrow method, by encapsulation, or by mounting on acid-free board.

Manuscripts, maps, record books and other historical items belonging to counties, individuals, churches, institutions, schools and universities from around the world are among the preservation work done by Barrow Restoration. The company also does restoration work f or local, state and federal government agencies.

For more information, write Barrow Restoration, Inc., Virginia State Library Building, Richmond, VA 23219, or call 804/786-2310.

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