Nancy Kraft reflects on disaster response in new book chapter

Flood in Florence, 1966: A Fifty-Year Retrospective cover art
Flood in Florence, 1966: A Fifty-Year Retrospective

Congratulations to our very own “Queen of Disaster,” Nancy Kraft, on the recent publication of her new book chapter.

Nancy’s chapter, “Bridging the Rivers,” appears in Flood in Florence, 1966: a Fifty-Year Retrospective, out now from Michigan Publishing. Find out how Nancy developed her disaster response expertise as she recounts the numerous floods and other disasters she has tackled throughout her career, and reflects on the changes she has seen over time.

Flood in Florence, 1966: a Fifty-Year Retrospective features the proceedings of a 2016 symposium which marked the fiftieth anniversary of a catastrophic flood in Florence, Italy. Hundreds of thousands of books, manuscripts, and other cultural heritage artifacts were buried in muck, and the subsequent recovery efforts made a lasting impact on the conservation and preservation fields. The symposium proceedings share insights about disaster preparedness and response, conservation, and the past and future of the preservation profession.

Flood in Florence, 1966: A Fifty-Year Retrospective, ed. Paul Conway and Martha O’Hara Conway. Ann Arbor, MI: Michigan Publishing, University of Michigan Library, 2018. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3998/mpub.9310956

Before & After Treatment: Keith’s New Theatre clipping book

Before treatment: Crumbling edges, misshapen spine, detached pages, overfilled pages, board detachment front and back.

After treatment: Foldered and housed detached pages in a 4-flap wrapper, sewed new endsheets front and back, lined spine and created new flange with extended liner and new endsheet, reattached text-block to case using new flange, mended edges and substrate tears with Japanese tissue and wheat starch paste, humidified and flattened creased clippings.

At a future date, this clipping book will be photographed and uploaded to the Keith/Albee Digital Collection. This project has been funded in major part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Shakespeare At Iowa Items Under Wraps

Friday, August 26, 2016

20160811_084533We’re keeping everything under wraps for the opening day of the Shakespeare First Folio and Shakespeare At Iowa Exhibit. As items were prepared for the exhibit, they were wrapped so not even staff could take a peek. Here some of the books are sitting in front of their individually crafted cradles. All items are now in place and will be on view this Monday, August 29. The First Folio will be here from August 29 – September 25.

Come visit the exhibit, enjoy the items on display and take a moment to notice the cradles that were created by our conservation staff. More information at http://shakespeare.lib.uiowa.edu/

Treating A Keith/Albee Scrapbook

Tuesday, August 16, 2016
Submitted by Katarzyna Bator and Bailey Kinsky

Kate examining the stability of the pages.
Kate examining the stability of the pages.
Our second project this summer is assisting with the treatment of several scrapbooks from the Keith Albee collection. Our work was being overseen by Candida Pagan, Project Conservator. The goal for our treatment is to stabilize the delicate structures for digitization. Picture 1 shows Kate examining the stability of the pages.

The Keith Albee collection includes a large number of scrapbooks that contain news articles, reviews, and programs from the Albee Theater in Rhode Island in the first half of the 20th century. To put it in better context, while examining Scrapbook #78, we found several pages dedicated to Ms. Fanny Brice, a famous vaudeville actress who was famously portrayed by Barbra Streisand in the 1968 musical, Funny Girl.

Most of the work needed for the scrapbooks included flattening of creases, removal of loose items, and repair to

Kate is using humidification to flatten creases in the paper.
Kate is using humidification to flatten creases in the paper.
the leather corners of the cover. Any loose items were placed in folders marked with the location within the book they came from so that they can be properly included during digitization.

Finding a Hidden Gem

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

20160726_131745Finding a hidden gem makes Book Repair Supervisor Susan’s day fun. While repairing a book spine, Susan discovered this stiffener (liner) inside the spine; spine liners often were cut from scraps of paper, sometimes unused pages from books already produced by the bindery. The book she was repairing was published in 1926, so the paper liner is older.
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Documenting and Treating Scrolls: Part 3 Final

Wednesday, July 27, 2016
Submitted by Katarzyna Bator and Bailey Kinsky

Picture 1: Kate dipping the tissue through an acrylic paint bath.
Picture 1: Kate dipping the tissue through an acrylic paint bath.
The Buddhist scrolls from the Ficke collection had experienced pretty significant insect damage which greatly increased the risk of damage during handling. In order to stabilize the paper structure, Kate and I performed some basic paper mends using a remoistenable tissue. We had previously tested the inks to make sure that they were not water soluble, but we wanted to avoid exposing the scrolls to excessive moisture because tidelines easily formed and the sheets composing the scrolls were most likely adhered together using a starch-based paste.

We selected several types of Japanese tissue to prepare for the mending and began by first toning them with acrylic paint to better match the color of the scroll (Picture 1).

Picture 2: Area of loss traced on tissue.
Picture 2: Area of loss traced on tissue.
Next, a 50/50 mixture of methylcellulose and paste was brushed over the surface, and the tissues were allowed to dry.

To mend the paper, the area of loss was traced on the tissue using a needle point (Picture 2). A protective, transparent piece of Mylar was placed between the scroll and the mending tissue while tracing. Now comes the “remoistenable” phase of the treatment. The paste and methyl cellulose mixture becomes reactivated in a 1:1 mixture of water and ethanol. The mend was placed on a piece of Plexiglas or cotton blotter and the ethanol/water mix was brushed over the tissue (Picture 3). A tweezer was used to place the mend onto the loss on the paper surface (Picture 4), and then a blotter and weight are placed on top to help the repair to dry flat (Picture 5). All of the repairs were applied to the back of the scrolls so as not to interfere with the manuscript, and Picture 6 shows what a large section of mends look like after drying.

Picture 3
Picture 3
Picture 4
Picture 4
Picture 5
Picture 5
Picture 6
Picture 6