The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 9, Number 4
Jul 1985


Guild of Book Workers Elects New Officers

At the annual meeting of the GBW May 11 at the Grolier Club in New York City, the following officers were elected:

Vice-President & Membership: Frank Mowery, who became President almost immediately on the resignation of Caroline Schimmel. Ms. Schimmel will be Vice-President pro tem, and Bernadette Callery will be the Membership Chairman.
|Secretary: Louise Kuflik
Treasurer: Mary Schlosser
Supply: Jean Gunner
Publications: Virginia Wisniewski-Klett

To fill the unexpired term of Exhibitions Chairman Pat Curtin, the Executive Committee appointed:

Co-Chairmen: Mary Lynn Ritzenthaler and Pamela Spitzmueller
Chairman for Small Exhibitions: Henry Pelham Burn

Bill Anthony was appointed Chair of the Standards Committee to replace Don Etherington, who stepped down.

Six of these ten officers belong to the American Institute of Conservation, as well as to GBW.

Walters Art Gallery Gears Up for Rare Book Conservation

The members of the Baltimore Area Conservation Group went to the Walters Art Gallery on March 20 for a tour of the Manuscripts and Rare Books Department (which has one of the largest, if not the largest1 collections of early and rare books on the east coast) and the Conservation Department.

The tour of the Conservation Department was led by Abigail Quandt, who trained at Winterthur and the Library of Congress and who is the present Manuscripts and Rare Book Conservator. She was employed by the Walters Art Gallery to survey the manuscript collection to determine its conservation needs. Since no conservation work has ever been performed on the collection, there is much to be done. The major problems are brittle parchment, deteriorated bindings, and flaking blue and white paints, especially in the Books of Hours of the 15th century and in Persian and Byzantine manuscripts with their shiny pages which do not hold paint very well. The current procedure is to make a box for a book; but if it is to be rebound, the policy is to save all parts of the old binding.

The conservation lab, which is 50 years old, includes areas and equipment for dealing with objects and paintings but, as yet, does not include a formal book conservation area. Miss Quandt's immediate goal is to obtain grant money to purchase more conservation equipment and supplies so that the hands-on work can begin. (From the Deckled Edge, 5(2) Summer 1985, which includes reports by members, of several other conservation-related events.)

English Library Schools Urged to Teach Conservation

In England, the Library Association corresponds to our American Library Association. Last October it held a seminar on conservation in London, which was reported by Library Conservation News in its January issue. The report was picked up by the SWAC Newsletter (Southwest Association for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works), from which the following excerpt was taken:

"... . .Discuss ions were concentrated on the need for an increased awareness of the problems of conservation and a correspondingly important role for conservation education in the training of librarians.

"It was suggested that conservation should become an essential ingredient in the training of librarians. This basic foundation element should not be concerned with the craft or techniques of conservation, but should be designed to promote awareness of conservation needs, practices and resources, and their management and application in libraries. Some library school representatives raised the problem of finding space for a new core-subject in the schools' curricula: in reply it was suggested that priorities should be redefined to allow students to acquire knowledge of the book, its history, construction and care. The Library Association itself should, through its Board of Assessors, ensure that conservation and preservation play a prominent part in course programs.

New Paper Conservation Research Center in England

Also from Library Conservation News comes the following information, passed along by Susan Swartzburg:

"Dr. D. J. Priest has recently been appointed Lecturer in Paper Science at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST), with special responsibility for the development of the Paper Conservation Centre being established in the Department of Paper Science. Priest is considering how best the centre can contribute to the advance of paper conservation and will welcome views of concerned librarians and archivists. While a substantial part of the activity at UMIST will be devoted to basic research, the center will have some direct involvement in paper conservation activities, by offering assistance with particular problems when the expertise and facilities of UMIST may be applicable. Among planned topics for investigation is the assessment of the effect on paper permanence of new types of wood pulping. [This was the subject of a brief article in the April issue of AN, on p.33.] Dr. Priest may be contacted at the University of Manchester Institute of Science & Technology, Paper Science Building, PO Box 88, Manchester M60 1QD, England."

Good News From the Book and Paper Industries

Faster and more efficient sewing machines have been introduced in the edition binding market. The Muller Martini 3210, the Aster Sewer, the Kolbus Jetfeeder, and the Smyth Europea Freccia 130 machines are all reviewed in Lithoweek Supplement for November 14, 1984, on p. 7-10 ("Binding Market is Back on Course," by Caryl Holland).

Although the use of groundwood fiber in paper coated with calcium carbonate and other pigments has increased in recent years (up 53% from 1978 to 1984), little of this paper has gone into research and archival materials. According to a paper by James L. Hutchinson summarized on p. 37 of the May Tappi Journal, "The reasons for this virtual explosion in the demand for coated papers include a resurgence in magazine advertising, the demand for higher-quality four-color printing combined with the installation of many new web offset presses, the growth in direct-mail advertising and newspaper inserts, and the increasing use of catalogs in the merchandising of products."

Grants and Awards

A Summer's Worth of Book Arts at CCAC

California College of Arts and Crafts has had a fairly full two months' worth of workshops with a star-studded cast, which puts it in the category of schools worth travelling to and staying for a month or longer. Each one-week workshop cost $250 and gave one unit of college credit. It could not be announced in this Newsletter because the flyer was received too late, but it may be repeated next year. Donald Farnsworth taught papermaking, Betty Lou Chaika taught one course each in adhesive and nonadhesive book structures, Betsy Davids taught letterpress printing, and Karen Zukor taught the nature, care and conservation of paper. For information write CCAC, 5212 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94618.


John Townsend, head of binding and conservation at the New York Public Library, uses a Panasonic Senior Partner computer with two disk drives and a built-in thermal printer, and serial and parallel ports for additional printers. It is IBM-compatible. He uses it for word processing, primarily, in creative writing. At the library, he is working on personal computer applications in libraries.

Jack Thompson has a new Macintosh 512k and is busy setting up files on it (and doing a dozen other projects too). He will use it for documentation and condition reports, among other things.


The International Museum of Photography in Rochester, NY, has received $13 M from Kodak, which should enable it to stay in Rochester and strengthen its collections care... In Brazil, museum awards are to be distributed triennially for "Performance in the Field of Museums and Cultural Preservation" and for "International Co-operation."... AASLH has a new address: PO Box 40983, Nashville, TN 37204... On May 6-9, Norvell Jones and Mary Lynn Ritzenthaler, conservators from the National Archives, gave a seminar on documents conservation in Topeka, co-sponsored by AASLH, NARA, Kansas State Historical Society and the Kansas City Area Archivists... Sara J. Wolf and Paul S. Storch, both museum conservators of Austin, Texas, are assuming the duties of Editor and Technical Editor, respectively, of Leather Conservation News. Ms. Wolf is the new AIC Objects Group Chairman, and can be contacted at Materials Conservation Lab, 10100 Burnet Rd., Austin, TX 78758 (512/ 835-3081)... A photocopy machine said to get good copies from brown documents discolored with age is the Ricoh FT4060... The National Information Standards Organization (used to be z39) is working on the final stages of its new standard, expected sometime this summer: Environmental Conditions for Storage of Paper-Based Materials. Chair: Paul Banks (212/280-4178)... The President has not yet nominated anyone for Archivist. A Hoover Institution scholar had been approached, but opposition developed and confirmation is not likely even if he is nominated...... The Rochester Institute of Technology in May officially established the Photographic Preservation Laboratory that James Reilly has been heading for the last six years. The announcement followed receipt of a $72,500 grant from NEH's Office of Preservation. Currently Mr. Reilly is evaluating materials used for photographic enclosures (AN Oct. 1984, p. 68)... In connection with hearings on the nomination of Ralph Kennickell as US Public Printer, the ALA Washington Office urged the Public Printer to strongly support the increased use by GPO of permanent durable paper when it prints documents.

 [Contents]  [Search]  [Abbey]

[Search all CoOL documents]