The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 23, Number 4


British Laws Now to be Printed on Paper; Goodbye to Vellum

Until 1956, both Private Acts and Public Acts of Parliament were printed in duplicate on vellum. One copy stayed with Parliament, and the other went to the Public Record Office. In that year, Private Acts began to be printed on archival paper, but Public Acts continued to be printed on vellum. So it continued for the next 43 years.

In June of this year, however, the Administrative Committee recommended a switch to archival paper for the Public Acts as well. The chair gave four arguments advanced by the Clerk of the House that had moved them to action:

  1. Samples of the record copies of the Private Acts deposited in the Lords' Record Office from 1956 reveal no deterioration in the archival paper on which they have been printed;
  2. Archival paper is considerably less bulky and easier to handle than vellum;
  3. There would be substantial savings to public funds from such a change; and
  4. The use of vellum is a specialized form of printing which few printers are equipped to carry out, (and which probably even fewer would be prepared to take on),

and therefore the use of vellum should be discontinued."

Although in one sense this action may seem overdue, the delay can be credited with carrying two important legal collections unscathed through the Brittle Paper Era.

Wei T'o Receives Environmental Award

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gave Richard Smith's company, Wei T'o Associates, a Stratospheric Ozone Protection Award in September, citing the company's technical excellence in chlorofluorocarbon (CFC)-free archive preservation (i.e., deacidification). The hydrofluorocarbon referred to in the citation is described on p. 82b in v.22 #6 of this newsletter.

Briquet's Original Watermark Tracings Found

Peter Tschudin reports in the second issue of IPH for 1999 that 450 of Briquet's original tracings and drawings, missing for years from the Genf University Library, have been found in the print collection of the Genf Museum of Art and History, together with some Briquet manuscripts. They have been rehoused and will be cataloged and made available to researchers.

SOLINET Advises Scrapbookers

Family scrapbook enthusiasts have gotten their information on materials and preservation methods largely from suppliers and each other ever since scrapbooking started growing in popularity ten or twenty years ago. Increasingly, however, institutions with preservation programs have been reaching out to them, and books on preserving family treasures have been published, with reliable advice in them. Now SOLINET has an hour-long presentation on protecting and preserving photo albums, book collections, home videos, and letters written by grandparents, which is popular with local history societies and public library groups.

Central London Area Code Changes from 171 to 207

James Black of Archetype Books does a monthly e-mailing to announce new books he is selling, and to pass along other news. In October he told us that the central London area code had been changed from (171) to (207), and that the Archetype Book Centre at the new office space in Fitzroy Square is open 9:30 to 5:30, with a telephone number of 44 (207) 380 0800 and a fax number of 44 (207) 380 0500. The 171 exchange will still work for a while.

IADA-News to be Published Independently

IADA, the book-and-paper organization for German-speaking conservators, has been publishing its newsletter as a bound-in part of the journal Restauro for years. Beginning in January 2000, however, it will be an independent publication. Gerd Brinkhus has resigned as editor, and the new editor is Manfred Anders, Zentrum für Bucherhaltung, Mommsenstr. 7, D-04329 Leipzig, Germany (

Deadlines for Awards and Grants

December 15 is the deadline for the University Products Award for Distinguished Achievement in Conservation, which consists of a commemorative plaque, $5,000, and up to $500 to help defray travel expenses to the AIC annual meeting where the award is presented.

February 3 is the deadline for applications for support through the Carolyn Horton Fund. It is reserved for assistance to one or more members of the AIC Book and Paper Group, and consists of $1000.

February 3 is also the deadline for the George Stout Memorial Fund, which is used for special lectures at Annual Meetings, and/or financial aid to students for attending professional meetings.

For further information, contact the AIC office (e-mail; ph. 202/452-9545; fax 202/452-9328). The announcement from which this is condensed was posted originally on the Conservation DistList October 4.

Call for Papers: Technology of Digital Printing: Preservation & Conservation Issues

A two-day conference, organized by the London Institute (Camberwell College of Arts and the London College of Printing) and the Institute of Physics, will be held in London on October 26th and 27th, 2000. It is targeting an international audience of conservators, preservation personnel, conservation scientists, the digital printing industry, and ink and paper R&D departments.

It comes none too soon. Problems and inquiries have been growing in number, while answers remain elusive.

The first day will cover developments in materials and technologies for inks, paper and printing methods, and the second day will focus on preservation and conservation issues related to digital printing. Technical and research papers are invited. For papers on the theme of day one, contact Dr. Robert Thompson, School of Printing and Publishing, London College of Printing, Elephant and Castle, London SE1 6SB (tel. +44 207/514-6708; fax +44 171/514-6756). For papers on the theme of day two, contact Dr. Anthony W. Smith, Camberwell College of Arts, Wilson Road, London SE5 8LU, UK (tel. +44 207/514-6427; fax +44 207/514-6405; e-mail

Call for Papers: History and Future of Conservation, Sept. 2001, London

The Department of Conservation of the British Museum is planning an international conference to be held between Sept. 12th and 14th in the Education Centre of the Great Court of the Museum.

The conference has not been given a formal title yet, but it will have two themes: the history of conservation of the portable heritage, and conservation in the 21st century. The first theme can be addressed in studies on important historical people and an evaluation of their contribution; histories of conservation in a geographical region or country, histories of conservation of particular techniques and histories of conservation in important institutions.

Papers on conservation in the 21st century may address any topics of current "political interest"-such as accreditation, collections care, working practices, the future role of conservators and the conservation profession, etc.-but not conservation methodology or case histories. Although historical accounts are requested, critical appraisal as seen from the end of the 20th century is relevant. Advice on the suitability of a topic in advance of sending an abstract may be had by e-mailing

Abstracts should reach Maureen Theobald, Head of Administration, Department of Conservation, British Museum, Great Russell St., London WC1B 3DG by post, fax or e-mail to by 31st May 2000. (Subsequent deadlines are noted in the full announcement.)

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