October 10th, 2012
Former conservation student assistant Haley Trezise reports on how she met the challenge of safely housing a group of metal Jayhawks.
I could hear the individual metal pieces sliding around inside before I even opened the box containing the metal Jayhawk paraphernalia. There was a small metal pendant set aside in an envelope; however, the rest of the items in the collection were awkwardly arranged at the bottom of a tall, slender box. Projects like this challenged me to find or make appropriate housing for Spencer items.
The challenge: A note to the archivist and two of several metal Jayhawk items all to be housed together.
Spencer Library Call Number: RG 0/25
I worked as a conservation student employee and Museum Studies intern during my last two semesters at KU. For one of my projects as an intern, I was asked to upgrade the housing for some metal Jayhawk paraphernalia. The parameters: all material should stay together in one box, including the accompanying written documents. I was provided a rather small, off-the-shelf box and told that all items should fit within that enclosure.
A new nest for metal Jayhawks. Spencer Library Call Number: RG 0/25
After considering various arrangements for best placement, I used plastazote foam, an inert (non-damaging) material that is easily shaped, to cut indentions for each object. I took a picture of the proper place for each item and placed it, along with the written information, in a sleeve inside the lid of the box. The image of what is stored in the box was also attached to the outside of the box so that the archivists can see what is inside without opening the lid.
Photos affixed to the exterior of the housing reveal at a glance the Jayhawk paraphernalia contained inside.
Spencer Library Call Number: RG 0/25. Click image to enlarge.
Former Conservation Student Assistant
August 24th, 2012
The volume below contains a wonderful example of paste paper on its binding. Paste paper is most associated with 16th- and 17th-century books from the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium. It was usually created in the bookbinding workshop for books that did not warrant the expense of marbled paper, a luxurious commodity.
Left: This 1815 volume from a run of the Spencer Library’s holdings for the periodical Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung has a binding that uses paste paper (Call Number: D2304 Vol.107). Right: a detail from the bottom right corner of the volume. Click images to enlarge.
Paste paper was created with starch paste—a staple of any bookbinding operation—and some sort of pigment. Often an implement was dragged through the paper, creating lines that look remarkably three-dimensional. Once in a while you find a mark of the bookbinder left behind: a finger or thumbprint used to make flowers or other patterns. There are many instructions for making paste paper, easily discoverable on the internet.
Paste paper details from the bindings of volumes in the Spencer Library’s collections. Top left: Tractatus optimus de arte bene moriendi (expanded version by Dominicus Capranica, d. 1458), Germany, 1456. (Call # MS D38). Top right: Saint Bonaventure’s Soliloquium , Germany, 1433. (Call# MS D37). Bottom left: Anna Seward’s Poem to the Memory of Lady Miller by Anna Seward, 1782 (Call Number: D2763). Bottom right: A modern example: Brian North Lee’s Bookplates and Labels by Leo Wyatt, 1988 (Call # D3254). Click images to enlarge.
For more information on paste paper, see Rosamond Loring’s book, Decorated Book Papers; being an account of their designs and fashions (Call Number: C6396).
Head, Conservation Services
June 13th, 2012
A clamshell or “drop spine” box is a typical housing for bound materials, like books and manuscripts, or loose materials that should be stored together, such as a set of prints. The fanciest clamshells are covered cloth, paper, or leather, and are custom-made to fit the item that will go inside.
Here is an example made to fit MS B61, Registrum Brevium, a 14th century British manuscript written in Latin. This book, because of its age, had been bound in different styles over the centuries. The most recent iteration was a suede binding of the 19th or early 20th century, glued tightly to the backs of the folded pieces of parchment that were sewn together to make up the book. Read the rest of this entry »