The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 11, Number 8
Dec 1987



The New Bookbinder: Journal of Designer Bookbinders, Vol. 7, 1987. First-rate all the way through, as usual. Of special interest:

San Ellenport: Book-edge Decoration: A Brief Survey. A well-researched and well-illustrated contribution.
Jack C. Thompson. Conservator's Progress. The story of the author's work and learning experiences, 1973-date.
Betty M. Haines. Bookbinding Leather. A long, thorough, clear summary of efforts to date to make long-lasting leather for bookbinding and to preserve leather bindings.

The Haines article says, "As a result of all these studies our advice to purchasers of new binding leather where long term durability is the priority is to use either:

The treatment of bindings involves retannage to slow the rate of deterioration, consolidation to strengthen it, and surface protection to greatly reduce the absorption of

Retannage was originally recommended with basic aluminum triformate in methanol, but new research is exploring organo aluminum salts in nonpolar organic solvents. The agents for consolidation and protection are available from the Leather Conservation Centre, Leather Trade House, Kings Park Road, Moulton Park, Northampton NN3 1JD This information, and the two agents, are made available as a public service; the procedure was developed at the request of the British Library, for use with its collections.

This issue of The New Bookbinder also has an index of Volumes 1-6, compiled by Dorothy Harrop.


The September 1987 Designer Bookbinders Newsletter has a number of interesting items in it:

Tuesday evening lectures at the Art Workers' Guild (6 Queen Square, London WC1) through March 8, on which date Michael Gullick speaks on "Recent Research into Early Book Structures.

An open invitation to the pub meetings, first Monday of each month at the City of York pub in High Holborn, close to the Chancery Lane tube.

The address to write to for more information on the new bookbinding course at West Dean College: Peter Sarginson, Principal, West Dean College, West Dean, Chichester, West Sussex P018 0QZ.

A notice of the Camberwell Conservation Graduate Association, which meets regularly and has a twice-a-year newsletter (write CCGA, 2 All Saints St., London, N1 9RL).

A reprint of Simon Barcham Green's article in the May 1987 Hayle Mill Newsletter announcing the reasons for closing down the mill.

Announcement of a publication: Antiquariat Zaehringer Katalog 11, Antiquariat Zaehringer, Hauptstrasse 90, CH-8280 Kreuzlinger/Schweiz. "The contents are marvellous [the notice says] and include books on bookbinding, books in loose sheets, restoration, conservation and caring for books, paper, marbled paper, watermarks, bookplates, bibliography, the art of books and books about books."

Conferences & Professional Publications


To receive a booklet of abstracts of papers to be presented before every American Chemical Society meeting, also abstracts of the Cellulose, Paper and Textile Symposium, and the Cellulose Division's semiannual Newsletter, all you have to do is send $4.00 for membership, with a filled-out membership application form, to the membership Chairman, Dr. Helena Li Chum, Solar Energy Research Institute, 1617 Cole Boulevard, Golden, 0) 80401 (303/231-7249). You can get a form from the Abbey Newsletter office or (probably) from Dr. Chum. If you are already an ACS member, it costs only



"Kenaf Newsprint is a Proven Commodity by Jim Young. Tappi Journal 70(11): 81-83, Nov. 1987. Although kenaf fiber is no cheaper than wood pulp, it matures in five months and yields nine times as much pulp as wood per acre. Its use will not be limited to newsprint.


Evelyn Frangakis reports on a four-day course held June 22-25 at the Smithsonian's Conservation Analytical Lab, "Environmental Control in Museums," in CAN No. 31, October 1987. Excerpts from her report: "He [Tim Padfield] set museum limits between 65-80°F and 35-65% RH. Every effort should be made to keep to the low end of the temperature range. Relative humidity should be chosen to allow for maintenance of the most constant year-round conditions.... David Erhardt [talked on] the control of pollutants generated within display cases.... If materials are unsafe, modifications should be made so that the object has a minimum of contact with them. Foil or foil-based laminates were recommended for sealing new wood cases. Erhardt concluded with a discussion of pollutant absorbers.... Jim Wallace... noted that cold storage requires a major commitment of resources due to continuous monitoring and maintenance of the facility.... The Conservation Analytical Laboratory hopes to offer this course again in the future."


"Air Conditioning in the New Power House Museum," by David M. Rowe. Australian Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating 41(1): 11-20, Jan. 1987. Tells how the author (Principal Engineer, Public Buildings, NSW Public Works Department) satisfied the environmental control problems of a museum that had one set of requirements for the public amenity spaces, and another for the exhibit area. Seawater heating was chosen over solar heating and more conventional forms of heating. References cite Thomson, Organ, and Unesco's museum standards.


"Letter from Europe," a new column by Stéphane Ipert appearing in the Guild of Book Workers Newsletter, describes the first conservation fair, called "Master Art," in Paris last March. Six thousand people attended it, presumably not all of them conservators. There were suppliers, showing their materials; two three-day workshops on paper conservation, taught by Maria Regni; representatives of most of the important museum and library research centers and workshops, giving workshops and answering questions; schools exhibited the work of students and teachers. This is a new type of event, one that may be quite effective in raising public consciousness.

Canson & Montgolfier, the oldest paper mill in France, is now interested in paper permanence, and is marking their catalog to show characteristics of papers listed: whether acid-free; presence of a buffer, fungicide or optical brightener; and furnish (cotton or chemical wood). Their prices are low. The same paper company just opened a paper museum in Annonay.


"The Nature and Occurrence of Lithographic Limestone," by Joho Byrnes. In Wayzgoose One: The Australian Journal of the Book Arts, 1985. The editor of GBW Newsletter says this is not only an excellent, lucid account of the localities where the stone is found, but also of the process, and is accompanied by a lengthy bibliography. No address is furnished for this journal, beyond the city, Sydney. It seems to have a connection with the Australian Printing Historical Society. Write GBW Editor Margaret Johnson, 2001 Mt. Vernon St., Philadelphia, PA 19130.


Recent Trends in Rare Book Librarianship (Michele V. Cloonan, Issue Ed.). This is a special issue of Library Trends 36(1), Summer 1987. Two of its five sections are of interest:

II. Advances in Scientific Investigation and Automation Jeffrey Abt - Objectifying the Book: the Impact of Science on Books and Manuscripts [from the earliest conservation science through NMR and the Parylene process]

Paul S. Koda - Scientific Equipment for the Examination of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Documents [from the divider through the microscope, UV lamp, collators, electron microscope to the particle accelerator]

[And other articles on the proton milliprobe, analysis of paper and ink in early maps, bibliographical control, and standards.]

V. The Preservation of Meaning and the Protection of Objects

Bonnie Jo Cullison & Jean Donaldson - Conservators and Curators: A Cooperative Approach to Treatment Specifications

Mary P. Wyly - Special Collections Security: Problems, Trends, and Consciousness

This 256-page issue can be ordered for $10.00 from Journals Dept., Univ. of Illinois Press, 54 E. Gregory Dr., Champaign IL 61820.


Diagnosis and Therapy in Parchment and Miniature Restoration, by Otto Waechter. Translated by Nancy A. Miller from "Diagnose und Therapie in der Pergament- und Miniaturenrestaurierung," Restaurator 5(1-2): 135-150, 1981-82. Issued as a separate in the English by The Caber Press, 7549 N. Fenwick, Portland, OR 97217. 18 pp. $8.50.

Waechter reviews many of the problems and solutions discussed at the St. Gall conference in 1898, and evaluates the effectiveness of treatments. The English translation still has a German accent, and is sometimes murky. Still we need all the translations we can get of this kind of work.


Oversight Hearing on the Problem of "Brittle Books" in our Nation's Libraries (Hearing before the Subcommittee on Post-secondary Education of the Committee on Education and Labor, House of Representatives, One Hundredth Congress, First Session. Hearing Held in Washington, DC, on March 3, 1987. Serial No. 100-1) For a free copy, write Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education, House Annex 1, Rm. 617, Washington, DC 20515, Attn: Ann Hausman. (This was the hearing on the front page of the June issue.) Witnesses, most of whose names are familiar to readers of this newsletter, summarized the problem and said what their organization was trying to do about it. The emphasis was on microfilming, but there were several pages on diethyl zinc deacidification pro and con, and a few mentions of acid-free paper. Some of the witnesses, notably Carole Huxley of New York, were able to recommend ways the Congress could do something about the problem.

Anyone trying to promote preservation at a state level will find this a large reservoir of fact and argument for their cause. For maximum usefulness, however, it should have an index.


A lively report of the International Newspaper Conference in London August 12-15 (International Symposium on Newspaper Preservation and Access) is available from Susan Swartzburg, 1050 George St. #4L, New Brunswick, NJ 08901. Send self-addressed envelope with 39� postage. An abridged version will appear in CAN.


Otto Waechter. Restaurierung und Erhaltung von Buechern, Archivalien und Graphiken. Verlag Böhlau Wien-Köln- Graz, 1982, 3rd rev. ed.. 290 pp. + 32 pages of photographs. Formerly priced at DM 66.00, it can now be ordered for DM 39.60 (about $22 before the dollar fell) from Verlag der Apfel, Gumpendorfer Strasse 12, A-1060 Vienna, Austria.


Proceedings of the Symposium on the Appraisal of Architectural Records. Cambridge: Massachusetts Committee for the Preservation of Architectural Records, 1987. $15 from Mass COPAR, P.O. Box 129, Cambridge, MA 02142. Mass COPAR continues to take a broad view of preservation, realizing that facilitating donations and understanding the implications of the current market for architectural drawings as works of art will ultimately insure their preservation intact for posterity. The dialogue between architects, librarians and collectors is a particularly important product of their work.

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