Thursday, June 18, 2009
This week when Susan Hansen and I reviewed the work for the Art Library, she pointed out a book that had a block of pages stuck together. It felt like a brick. We were convinced that the book was beyond repair. However, before declaring the book a loss, we forwarded the book to conservator Gary Frost. To our complete and total amazement, he was able to salvage the book.
Gary took the book apart and pulled the section with the stuck pages. Then he trimmed the pages until he found the spot where the pages were no longer sticking together. The outer edges had sealed together tightly, keeping water from getting into the main part of the page. No text or photographic image was lost; only the margin. He chose to leave the rest of the pages at their regular length rather than risk cutting into text just to keep the book looking “good.”
If you look carefully at the book in the press, you’ll see that the stitching of the different sections no longer line up. All text is jogged to the top, this will keep the exposed edges clean, reducing chances of dust and dirt build up. This is important as bugs and mold thrive on dirt. We don’t want this book to suffer any more than it already has!
We try to salvage and reuse the book covers whenever possible. This cover was too far gone, so Gary made a new one. The book is now back on the shelf ready for use.