The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 13, Number 6
Oct 1989


Selected Contents of Significant Publications


Conservation News no. 39, July 1989

On p. 35-36 is a review of Environmental Monitoring and Control, the preprints of a conference held in Dundee in 1989, organized by the SSCR and the Museums Association. The price is given as �750 [!] plus postage, from MPG Secretarial Services, 136 Queensferry Road, Edinburgh EH4

On p. 41-43 is a detailed report of the "Early Advances in Conservation Conference" held at the British Museum on Nov. 18-19, 1988. Papers on paper conservation were:

Antonio Piaggio and the Conservation of the Herculaneum Papyri, by Mark Gilberg
Early Approaches to the Conservation of Works of Art on Paper. Part 1: Collections and Storage, by Cathy Hicks
Early Approaches to the Conservation of Works of Art on Paper. Part 2: Repair and Restoration, by Alan Donnithorne
The Delamination of the Washington and Lee Ledgers. A Brief History of Cellulose Acetate Lamination and the Treatment. A Case History, by Holly Maxson and Linda Stiber (given again at AIC)


Preprints for the UKIC 30th Anniversary Conference, Oct. 10-14, 1988

Wallpaper Conservation, by Catherine Rickman. An overview.
The Use of Membranes in Conservation, by Helen Shenton. Describes treatment of a doll's mask and a tortoiseshell binding. ("Membranes" = sausage casing, gold-beater's skin and "fish skin.")
Fumigation: A New Direction? by R.E. Child. The Rentokil bubble.


Restaurator v.10 #1 came in July and #2 in September.


D.M. Evetts, A. Lockwood & N. Indictor: Evaluation of Some Impregnating Agents for Use in Paper Conservation (polyvinyl alcohol, refined sodium alginate, hydroxypropyl cellulose, methyl cellulose and refined sodium carrageenan; methyl cellulose seemed best after aging)

A.R. Calmes & N.S. Baer: National Archives Advisory Committee on Preservation. Science Advice to the Archivist of the United States

P. Ravines, N. Indictor & D.M. Evetts: Methylcellulose as an Impregnating Agent for Use in Paper Conservation


P. Conway: Archival Preservation: Definitions for Improving Education and Training

G. Banik: Discoloration of Green Copper Pigments in Manuscripts and Works of Graphic Art

H. Bansa & H. Schönung: Filler for Leafcasting (6 g Pergopak M2, a urea resin, was used for every 10 g fiber for opacity in the paper fill)

H.-Y. Hua, W. Fischer & M. Fath: Machinery for Paper Restoration (an apparatus to produce saturated solutions of calcium carbonate, a steam chamber to dissolve stubborn adhesives etc., a suction table and a mixer, all built by the authors)


ACTS FACTS 3: 9, Sept. 1989

Silica Fume is not Fumed Silica. For the time being, conservators may consider fumed silica as a nuisance dust. A good review of silica hazards is given.

1,1,1-Trichloroethane to be Tested. It is a chlorinated hydrocarbon; almost all the chlorinated hydrocarbon solvents tested thus far have been shown to cause cancer, and they also damage the ozone layer.


Studies in Conservation 34:2, May 1989

Inert Atmosphere Fumigation of Museum Objects, by Mark Gilberg. (Nitrogen gas for 1, 2 & 3 weeks)

The Fading of Artists' Colorants by Exposure to Atmospheric Nitrogen Dioxide, by Paul N. Whitmore and Glen R. Cass.

Conferences & Professional Publications


"Artificial Aging as a Predictor of Paper's Future Useful Life," by Helmut Bansa and Hans-H. Hofer, is a translation from the German paper that appeared in Restaurator in 1984, entitled "Die Aussagekraft einer künstlichen Alterung von Papier für Prognosen fiber seine zukfünftige Benutzbarkeit." It is issued as Monograph Supplement #1 to the Abbey Newsletter, and is the result of four years' work. 23 pp. It will be mailed out on request to Abbey Newsletter or Alkaline Paper Advocate subscribers, until December 31 this year. After that it will be $5 per copy, paperbound. ISBN 0-9622071-0-1.

The abstract says, in part, "An experiment with artificial aging which, in contrast with the usual practice, was carried out at relatively low temperatures (50°C to 95°C), and not on laboratory handsheets, but on naturally aged paper from the commercial production of four centuries, produced results justifying the thesis that there may be at best an accidental agreement between the results of artificial aging at high temperatures and natural aging.... If artificial aging cannot be dispensed with despite this uncertainty [of different chemical processes taking place at different temperatures], aging should take place at 80°C and 65%. RH."


"Déclaration des droits du manuscrit, du lecteur et du conservateur." Gazette du Livre Medieval no. 14, Spring 1989, p. 1-4. Addresses nicely, in its 16 "articles," the issue of use vs. preservation for rare books.


Les débuts du codex: Actes de la journée d'étude, edited by A. Blanchard. Proceedings of a meeting in Paris in 1985. Turnhout: Brepols, 1989. 200 p. (Bibliologia. Elementa ad librorum studia pertinentia, 9) Price: FB 1750.


"Recasing. . .A Discussion Between Librarians and Binders," by Sally Grauer. New Library Scene, August 1989, p. 1, 5-8. Summarizes a presentation made at the June 1989 meeting of ALA/PLMS Library Binding Discussion Group by a panel consisting of Bruce Jacobsen, Mel Kavin, Lynn Jones, Fritz James, and Carolyn Morrow. Very informative on the topic of recasing, with diagrams, production and preparation times, and evaluation of problems, methods and opportunities by binders and librarians. An amusing euphemism on the first page is "removal of portions of the inner margin," which can only mean "cutting off the original sewing and folds."


Historic Textile and Paper Materials II: Conservation and Characterization, edited by Howard L. Needles and S. Haig Zeronian. (ACS Symposium Series No. 410) Washington, DC American Chemical Society, 1989. Clothbound, 249+ pp. $54.95. ISBN 0-8412-1683-5. To order, write ACS Distribution Office, Dept. 390, 1155 Sixteenth St. NW, Washington, DC 20036, or call 800/ACS-5558. This is the proceedings of the symposium in Los Angeles, Sept. 1988.


Conservation and Preservation of Humanities Research Collections, Essays on Treatment and Care of Rare Books, Manuscripts, Photography, and Art on Paper and Canvas. Edited by Dave Oliphant, with an introduction by James Stroud. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin. 1989. 166 pp. $17.95 + $1.50 P&H. ISBN 0-87959-109-9.

The contents of this book are identical to the contents of a recent double issue of The Library Chronicle, and the book is made available for nonsubscribers to the Chronicle.

There are 11 contributions to this book by conservators and preservation personnel--all addressed to the curator, most of them describing a particular treatment and the decisions made on the basis of the condition, use and importance of the book or manuscript treated. Technical terms are used but defined in context, and the illustrations are numerous and helpful. The HRHRC, with its long emphasis on communication between the curator and the conservator, is exactly the place one would expect such a book, the first of its kind, to appear. Contributions are by James Stroud, Karen Pavelka, Carol Sue Whitehouse, Ellen Weir, Jill Whitten, Mary C. Baughman, Sue Murphy, Bruce Levy, Barbara Brown, Frank Yezer and Ellen Cunningham-Kruppa.


"Foxingflecken sowie Verfärbungen in Blatträndern und rund um die Druckerschwärze, Teile eines komplexen Phänomens in Büchern," by Frank J. Ligterink, Henk J. Frock and Win J. Th. Smit. Translated from the Dutch into German, with a one-page English summary:

"Foxing Stains and Discoloration of Leaf Margins and Paper Surrounding Printing Ink: Coherent Phenomena in Books." The authors conclude, "As the present theories on the causes of foxing (fungi, metals) do not satisfactorily explain the observed relationship between stains and other forms of paper discoloration, another approach is needed.... [The] process underlying the observed browning of humidified fibrous materials at the dry-wet interface might play a crucial role in the discoloration of paper.... caused by local condensation processes in the book...


Legature Bizantine Vaticane, by Carlo Federici and Kostantinos Houlis. Fratelli Palombi Editori. Issued by the Istituto Centrale per la Patologia del Libro on the occasion of its 50th anniversary. 1988. ISBN 88-7621-581-6. 154 pp. Lire 60,000 (about $43). The whole book is in Italian, so it is not easy to tell where to write for a copy. Perhaps it is the Istituto, at 76 via Milano, Rome 00184, Italy. Or perhaps it is the Fratelli Palombi Srl, Editori in Roma, via dei Gracchi 187, 00192 Rome, Italy, which is apparently the organization which holds copyright.

The book is very well illustrated, with page after page of diagrams, photographs, rubbings of tool impressions, charts and graphs, and close-ups of details. It is also full of data, in tables and formulas, and has three pages of bibliographical notes with references to codicological literature in all languages. It is enough to make a person try to learn Italian, just to understand what the text has to say about all these things.

The head of the Vatican Library says in a preface that there was an exhibition of the Library's Greek bindings in 1977, but that this goes beyond that effort, because it is a collaborative effort with the Istituto. The Istituto' s interest in structure is apparent throughout the hook. The Greek bindings in the Vatican Library have apparently been measured and surveyed in detail, and typologies of most elements constructed to permit data gathering and description of the collection as a whole. The types of spine decoration include these:



A chronological, cooperative, detailed description of the visit by SOBBR members to New England last May is in the Society of Bookbinders and Book Restorers, Western Region, Newsletter, v. 6 #2, Summer 1989, p. 14-26.


"Our Silent Enemy: Ashes in our Libraries," by Lois DeBakey and Selma DeBakey. Bulletin of the Medical Library Association 77(3), July 1989, p. 258-268. An eloquent argument for the use of acid-free paper, notable for its detailed justification for keeping the older literature of biomedical research. (There is a popular misconception that only the most recent publications in science need to be preserved, and this addresses that misconception.)


"Environmental Conditions for the Storage of Paper-based Records in Archives and Libraries: The Activities of SC R," Information Standards Quarterly, v. 1 #3, July 1989. This is not only a committee report, but summarizes presentations made to the committee to inform them on relevant and recent research. It starts out with a list of nine reasons why it is hard to write a standard in this area, reports presentations from NIST and the Library of Congress, and summarizes a handout from William K. Wilson showing that paper can be safely handled at 30% RH. This is a new committee, formed early this year. By midyear it had turned out one short draft and one long draft of the standard.


Disaster Recovery Journal, 2712 Meramar Dr., St. Louis, MO 63129. This is a quarterly that costs only $10 a year. Richard Arnold is the publisher and editor. It is oriented to the needs of business, especially those that rely extensively on computers. Arnold is a board member of an organization called Disaster Recovery Institute that is setting up a program to certify individuals as disaster recovery planners. Beginning in October, the program will offer courses at Washington University. He also organized a conference for September 11-13 in Atlanta with 30 speakers (fee: $795). George Cunha attended, and has subscribed to the journal since it began in 1987. He and Pat Palmer, who sent in this material, are working with Mr. Arnold to look more closely at libraries, archives and records centers. She says they are much more advanced in planning strategies than libraries. The Journal is on a calendar year basis, like this Newsletter. Its telephone number is 314/846-1001.


The Paper Conservator v. 12, 1988 (received May 1989) makes up Part 3 of the papers from the 10th Anniversary Conference, "New Directions in Paper Conservation," Oxford, 1986. A notable contribution in this volume, worth returning to from time to time, is Vincent Daniels' "The Discolouration of Paper on Aging." It covers foxing, water stains, acid migration (the reality of which it questions, because of the lack of evidence), ink-produced images, light discoloration, metal-induced discoloration, airburn (as when part of a framed paper is exposed to air at the back of the frame), and degradation of deposited volatile materials (e.g., thymol). The mechanism at work in all of these effects may be what he calls induced oxidation, caused by oxidizing gases and free radicals, and can be measured by means of the Russell effect, which involves the use of special sensitive photographic paper.


"The Parker Library Conservation Project, 1983-1989," by Nicholas Hadgraft. Library Conservation News #24, July 1989. The Parker Library is in Corpus Christi College at Cambridge, and has a valuable collection justifying a pacesetting conservation program. This article covers storage, handling, maintenance, furbishing, preservation records, housing and conservation treatment. In the section on furbishing, it says:

One of the problems which faces the furbishers at Corpus Christi is the amount of previously applied British Museum Leather Dressing. The dressing had been applied in too great a quantity and has caused many of the books to become sticky. It is also sad that many of the fine bindings have been permanently discolored by the presence of hexane in that preparation. A further complication of the use of leather dressings containing hexane arises from the disturbance of fats, oils and waxes already in the leather, causing even more stickiness. The Furbishing Team is very carefully removing the dressing and dirt by using small amounts of petroleum ether. We have purchased a Nederman's portable fume extraction unit for the safe undertaking of this work.

Standards & Practical Guides


The WAAC Resource File is a comprehensive card file of conservation resources (supplies, equipment, services) published in 1982 that contains over 300 entries covering all areas of conservation. Available for $20 to WAAC members, postage paid, or $25 to nonmembers. Write to Tatyana Thompson, 1453-B 14th St., Santa Monica, CA 90404. waac=Western Association for Art Conservation. Cards to update the file are sent out from time to time.


Managing Change: A How-to-do-it Manual for Planning, Implementing, and Evaluation Change in Libraries, by Susan C. Corzon. New York: Neal-Schuman, 1989. 125 pp., paper, $35. ISBN 1-55570-032-2.


Statewide Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Program for Florida Libraries, by John N. DePew. Occasional Papers, no. 185. Champaign: University of Illinois Graduate School of Library and Information Science, 1989. 51 p., paper, $5 + $2 P&H.


The Chicago Disaster Response Resource File is available for $15 prepaid from the Newberry Library Bookshop, 60 W. Walton St., Chicago, IL 60610. Make checks payable to The Newberry Library.

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