The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 20, Number 2
Jun 1996


Note: The classification number that follows each entry is there to help the editor arrange, file and find the citations. When the publisher's address is not given, it can usually be found in the list of Useful Addresses that is mailed out yearly to subscribers.


De Restaurator is a Dutch journal, not to be confused with the Restaurator which is published in English from Copenhagen. Elly Pouwels, co-editor of de Restaurator (Castaert 4, 5688 PH Oirschot, the Netherlands), furnished a short description of it for this column. It is a twice-yearly publication by the Dutch Society of Book and Paper Conservators, and has been in print--in different shapes and sizes--since 1971. Each article has an English summary, and upon request English translations can be made available.

Volume 26, #1 (1996), contains:

G.J. van Bussel - Report on the First Conference Organized by the European Commission on Preservation and Access: "Choosing to Preserve: Toward a Cooperative Strategy for Long-term Access to the International Heritage"

I. van Leeuwen and B. Wassink - Salvaging With(in) Reason. Describes the evacuation of one of the Regional Archives during the 1995 floods in the center of the country and the resulting joint disaster plan of the General State Archives and the Royal Library.

P. Hallebeek - Comparative Tests on the Quality of Six Commercially Available Bookbinding Leathers. Recommends a chromium retanned leather that performed best.

B. Cremers - Long-term Storage of Homemade Starch Paste in Tubes. Results of trials with Elizabeth Morse's recipes.

P. Peters - Restoration of a Pair of Mercator Globes. Reports the work on a richly decorated earth and heavens pair of Mercator globes. (2)


New Tools for Preservation: Assessing Long-Term Environmental Effects on Library and Archives Collections, a 1995 publication written by Image Permanence Institute personnel and published by the Commission on Preservation and Access, was reviewed on p. 13 in the last issue, but the price was omitted. It is $10. The Commission's publications fax line is 202/939-3499. (2C1.7)


Restauraci-n Hoy, Revista de Divulgaci-n, Centro Nacional de Restauración (Colombia), 8, Nov. 1995.

This issue shows increased interaction between the North and the South on matters of museum and library conservation, and preservation of buildings. Marta de la Torre's three-page description of the Getty Conservation Institute starts on p. 27; then on p. 35, a long article called "La Conservación Preventiva: Reseña sobre su Desarrollo," by Sandra Villagran de Brady, Amparo Rueda de Torres and Ann Seibert; on p. 50, a full report of the second meeting of directors of conservation schools in Latin America and the Caribbean, with descriptions of programs and progress in eleven countries; on p. 64-73, the AIC Code of Ethics (in Spanish, of course); and the Literature section beginning on p. 84 includes entries for Studies in Conservation, AIC News, the Bulletin of the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Journal of the American Institute for Conservation. (2C2.6)


"Purification of Air with Filter Materials Containing Zeolites." Papeterie no. 191-192, Aug.-Sept. 1995, p. 24 (Paperbase Abstracts, #709, 1996. In French)

US Bioclamatic distributes a filtration medium that uses zeolites treated briefly with permanganate. It is cheaper than aluminum granules, lasts longer and does not result in noxious waste products. Zeolites are more efficient at adsorption of lightweight molecules like sulphur dioxide and formaldehyde. (2C3)


The NIC (National Institute for Conservation), National Park Service, and AIC assembled a packet of five disaster response and salvage manuals for use by cultural institutions during the floods of 1995. The packet is only 21 pages long, and can be sent out on request by NIC (202/625-1495, fax 625-1485, e-mail or AIC (202/452-9545, fax 452-9328, e-mail

The first is a checklist for emergency response; the second is tips for recovery of personal belongings and records; the third and fourth deal with salvage of archival and museum collections; and the fifth relates mainly to stabilization of historic structures. (2F9)


"The Applicability of Gamma Radiation to the Control of Fungi in Naturally Contaminated Paper," by Maria Guiomar Carneiro Tomazello and Frederico Maximiliano Wiendl. Restaurator 16: 93-99, 1995. The two experimental pretreatment conditions (drying in an oven at 50°C or moist heat at 95% RH and 50°C) had opposite effects on fungi and bacteria, as judged after irradiation: drying stimulated the multiplication of colonies of fungi, but moist heat stimulated the growth of bacteria. Lab room conditions did not stimulate either type of organism. In fact, both fungi and bacteria were found in samples at all levels of radiation used, from 1 to 20 kGy. All samples came from three books, which were naturally contaminated. By far the most bacteria were found in one of the books, a 1992 publication on alkaline paper; by far the most fungi were found in a 1925 publication on acid paper. (2H2.8)


"Otra Note sobre Tratamientos no Toxicos con Gases Inertes," by Robert J. Koestler. Apoyo 6:1, July 1995. (Address of APOYO: PO Box 76932, Washington, DC 20013.)

This reviews the use of argon as an inert gas for insect extermination at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Argon has also been used in the Museum of Art in San Paulo, Brazil. 3 references. (2H3.4)


"Comparative Analysis of Insect Control by Nitrogen, Argon and Carbon Dioxide in Museum, Archive and Herbarium Collections," by Nieves Valentin. International Biodeterioration & Biodegradation 32 #4, pp. 263-278, 1993. Analyses were performed with eight different species, using several different types of containers. An argon atmosphere achieved the best results for insect elimination with a short exposure time. Different species of Coleoptera were found to be resistant to carbon dioxide. (2H3.4)


Luis Nadeau's Encyclopedia of Printing, Photographic and Photomechanical Processes is available in a one-volume edition (472 pp.) for US $45 prepaid. This is the price to students, individuals and libraries without office copiers. To all other libraries and public institutions, the cost is US $60 plus $6.00 shipping. Contact the author at Box 7, Site 4, RR 4, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada E3B 4X5 (fax 506/450-2718). (3.1)


"Adhesive Testing at the Canadian Conservation Institute--An Evaluation of Selected Poly(vinyl Acetate) and Acrylic Adhesives," by Jane L. Down, Maureen A. MacDonald, Jean Tétrault and R. Scott Williams. Studies in Conservation, 41/1, 1996, p. 19-44.

Since the aging of adhesives cannot be accelerated with heat in the usual way, the 52 adhesives in this 13-year-long project are being aged by light exposure and by natural aging in the dark. Variables are pH, emission of harmful volatiles, flexibility/strength and yellowing. The PVAs tend to be more acidic than the acrylic adhesives, and the homopolymers more acidic than the copolymers. In fact, most PVAs either started out as unacceptably acidic (below pH 5.5), or migrated into the unacceptable range as time went on. Elvace 1874 in emulsion form started out at about pH 3.9 and declined to about 3.3; so did Jade 454 (the emulsions were more acidic than the films). But Jade 403 stayed pretty well in the acceptable range between pH 5.5 and 8.

The tables in this paper are packed with data, too much to summarize in an abstract like this. The last two tables present the overall performance of all the adhesives on all five variables, before and after aging; the cells that show desirable properties are shaded. (3.73)


The Guild of Book Workers Journal XXXII #1, Spring 1994. Contents:

Linda Blaser - The Development of Endpapers

Betsy Palmer Eldridge - Sewing Variations

Richard W. Horton - Photo Album Structures, 1850-1960. (3A)


"Lessons and Techniques from the History of Conservation: Workshop Report," by Thea Burns. Paper Conservation News, #75, Sept. 1995, p. 15-16.

This was a Mellon advanced conservation workshop at the Conservation Department of the University of Iowa Libraries in Iowa City, April 10-14, 1995, with Tom Conroy as workshop leader. Techniques demonstrated and explored included the spring-back structure for account books, silking of documents, cleaning paper with bread crumbs, and the molded pull-off book box. For the workshop, Mr. Conroy prepared "A Sourcebook on Stationery Binding," which is an exhaustive checklist of the literature in English on British and American stationery binding. It extracts useful and hard-to-locate technical instructions dating between 1890 and 1940. During the workshop, another sourcebook was compiled by Mr. Conroy and participants, on the early study of paper deterioration and restoration. (3A3.6)


Women Bookbinders 1880-1920, by Marianne Tidcombe. The role and work of women craft binders, particularly Sarah Prideaux, Katherine Adams, Sybil Pye and the Guild of Women Binders. 32 colored plates, 100 black and white photographs. 240 pp. £35 from British Library publications. (3A5.6)


Kwasny Papier: Zagrozenie dla druk-w XIX i XX wieku (Acid Paper: The Hazard for XIXth and XXth Century Prints [i.e., publications]), by Bronislaw Zyska. Katowice: Wojewódzka Biblioteka Publiczna (Regional Public Library) w Katowicach, 1995. ISBN 83-902893-6-9. Printed on alkaline paper. The author is very conscious of William J. Barrow's work and in some ways is following in his footsteps. (3A9)


"Damaging Effects of Visible and Near-Ultraviolet Radiation on Paper," by S.B. Lee, J. Bogaard, and R.L. Feller. In Historic Textile and Paper Materials II: Conservation and Characterization (ACS Symposium Series 410). American Chemical Society, 1989, p. 54-62.

This is not a new publication, but it concerns a matter of general interest--the effects of visible light, as well as UV radiation, on papers with little or no lignin content. Perhaps this paper is not as well known as it might be.

"Daylight" fluorescent lamps were used as the light source, and all three of the papers were aged at 90°C and 50% RH after light exposure. The graphs show a moderate decline in degree of polymerization (DP) and folding endurance, and a moderate rise in hot-alkali-soluble matter (a result of oxidation) after 800,000 to 1,300,000 footcandle hours of light exposure. However, the results of the subsequent thermal aging are amazing, especially for the Whatman filter paper: Thermal aging for 20 days caused a loss of DP about seven times as great as that caused by the prior light aging. The other papers also deteriorated rapidly from heat after they had been "set up" for it by the light exposure. (3B1.24)


"Darkening of Paper Following Exposure to Visible and Near-Ultraviolet Radiation," by S.B. Lee, J. Bogaard and R.L. Feller. Journal of the American Institute of Conservation 28 (1989), 1-18.

Although this paper was published in the same year, with the same authors and on the same topic as the ACS publication above, it is not the same text with a different title. It reports a different series of experiments that involve post-irradiation natural aging rather than oven aging, and explore darkening (or bleaching) rather than loss of strength as a result. Papers with a wide range of pH and lignin content were exposed either to black light or to visible light.

The filter paper in this study showed scarcely any post-irradiation darkening after 120 days of natural aging, whether it had previously been exposed to UV or to "daylight" fluorescent lamps, and no matter whether its pH was high, intermediate or low. The groundwood test sheets, however, darkened twice as much at a low pH (near 3.6) as they did at a pH of 10, and the unbleached pulp even grew a bit lighter at pH 10. The daylight fluorescent lamps darkened the groundwood and unbleached sheets much more than the black light fluorescent lamps did--not less, as one might expect.

One of the authors (Feller), commenting on this study, says "Perhaps the most significant result: Figure 8 shows post-irradiation darkening directly related to the amount of lignin present in our particular experiment in spite of all sorts of treatments with chlorite (to reduce lignin), NaOH (to remove low molecular weight cellulosic components) and sodium borohydride (to reduce alkali-sensitive aldehyde groups)." Darkening and lignin are directly related at all lignin levels. (3B1.24)


"A Semiquantitative Assay, Based on the TAPPI Method, for Monitoring Changes in Gelatin Content of Paper due to Treatments," by Terry Trosper Schaeffer. Journal of the American Institute of Conservation 34 (1995), 95-105.

Since a significant fraction of gelatin size is removed by immersion of papers in Mg(HCO3)2 baths at room temperature, the author believes paper conservators may want to consider this phenomenon as a factor when they plan aqueous treatments for paper-based objects. She notes that Tim Barrett and his colleagues have recently reported results suggesting that a positive correlation may exist beteen the good condition of historic papers and the amount of gelatin size in them. (3B2.3)


The Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Material (AICCM) published in its newsletter last year the results of a survey on the use of bleaching as a paper conservation treatment. Results are presented in some detail on p. 16 of the September 1995 AICCM National Newsletter.

Institutions (museums, libraries and archives) reported that they did not bleach, because of the possible damaging effect; stability was more important to them than esthetic effect. All the art galleries and businesses reported that they did bleach when appropriate, after considering the danger to the object, esthetics, possible alternatives and the nature of the stain. The main bleaches they used were light and hydrogen peroxide.

Some respondents gave details of treatments:

[Note: These are not recommendations, but simply reports of lab practice. -Ed.] (3B2.36)


"Leafcasting with Dermal Tissue Preparations: A New Method for Repairing Fragile Parchment, and its Application to the Codex Eyckensis," by Jan Wouters, An Peckstadt and Lieve Watteeuw. Paper Conservator 19 (1995), p. 5-22. This is probably the definitive description of the new process of leafcasting with hide powder (partially pretanned with formaldehyde) and calcium carbonate. The leafcasting described here was done on a custom-built vacuum table. Where necessary, the reconstituted parchment was reinforced with goldbeaters' skin, applied over it with Tylose MH300. (3B2.55)


Research Techniques in Photographic Conservation: Proceedings of the conference held at the National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen, May 1995. (In English) Price: 250 DKK (about $45). Order from National Museum of Denmark, Dept. of Conservation, Attn: Jesper Stub Johnsen, Box 260, DK-2800 Lyngby, Denmark (Fax +45 33 47 33 27. E-mail:

There are 19 papers, including the following:

Planning New Storage; Standards and Reality - Erland Kolding Nielsen

Examination of Photographs with TEM; Sample Preparation and Interpretation of the Image - Ulla Boegvad Kejser

The Evaluation of Conservation Treatments - Klaus B. Hendriks

Standards on the Permanence of Imaging Materials - Peter Z. Adelstein

The Breath of Arrhenius: Air Conditioning in Photographic Archives - Tim Padfield and Jesper Stub Johnsen

Prediction of Dark Stability of Color Chromogenic Films using Arrhenius' Law and Comparison after Ten Years of Natural Aging - Bertrand Lavedrine

The Practical Presentation of Research Studies on Film Stability - Douglas W. Nishimura (3F)


Klaus Hendriks reviews Henry Wilhelm's 1993 book, The Permanence and Care of Color Photographs, on p. 52-53 of Popular Photography for August 1994. He commends it for its wealth of detail on a topic that is rarely covered in depth, but marks it down for repetitiveness and lack of objectivity in reference to Kodak and its products. (3F)


A Westlaw search on the topic of state laws concerning alkaline paper was done at the National Conference of State Legislatures in January 1996. It turned up citations for alkaline paper statutes in 13 states: Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Montana, North Carolina, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. (This does not include laws that originate in the executive branch, however, so the list is not complete.)

A typical citation is:

T.C.A. s 12-7-201 TENNESSEE CODE ANNOTATED TITLE 12 PUBLIC PROPERTY, PRINTING AND CONTRACTS CHAPTER 7 STATE PUBLICATIONS COMMITTEES Part 2-- Use of Alkaline Paper 12-7-201 Legislative findings and declarations. (4.1)


RecollectionsÑMy Life in Bookbinding, by Bernard C. Middleton, with a foreword by Dr. Marianne Tidcombe. The announcement in Designer Bookbinders Newsletter for Spring 1996 said most of the edition of 200 have already been subscribed. Contact Bird & Bull Press, 2 Jericho Mountain Road, Newtown, PA 18940. (4F)

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