September 26th

Today I am looking at a particularly brittle foldout, which has quite a bit missing from it also.

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I’ve discussed what might be the best approach with Kathryn, the head of Special Collections, and we’ve decided on the following plan:

  1. First, I will go through all of the volumes to see if the missing piece has been tucked in somewhere. I really should have done this on day one. The lesson has been learned to look through the books first for shards of paper etc. before begining your work – this way you can get a good overview of what you’re up against, remove debris, etc.
  2. Next, if I cannot find the missing piece, I will attempt to find it somewhere else! I will do a search for this image and/or contact another facility who may have a copy of this book and see if they can give me a copy. The type of paper it is on is important, as it has to be able to mesh with the original if we wanted to tip it in or somehow include it in the book.
  3. Last, if I cannot get a copy or we cannot include it for some reason, a tissue mend must be made to stabilize what is there, and keep it stable enough to be folded back into the book.

Now to figure out how to keep it safe while we try to find the missing piece. We spoke about washing it – which would plump up the fibers a little and when it dried, it would be stronger for it, but we didn’t want to risk cutting it out of the book as the illustration is very near the spine and we might have trouble tipping it back into the book. What I have done for the immediate future is put it between some mylar with some archival card stock to keep it from getting bumped while I go through the rest of the book to see if the missing pieces are in there!

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Another interesting thing to note today as I am flipping (gently!) through the pages of these volumes is how acidity affects some pages differently than others. For example, there can be a browned page right up against a very white page, like in this picture.

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Some pages are very white, and you can begin to see what they probably looked like to the original owner. On pages such as these, you can even see the grid pattern created by the screen the paper pulp was dried upon when first making this paper.

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Also, when checking the pages near the spine for debris, I found some thread in several places that is from the sewing together of signatures and the creation of the text block. It was also an excuse to take a picture with my macro lens again. 🙂

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On a side note – one of the students whom I used to work with left me a note on my work station today. So sweet!

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September 5th

So today I am working again at mending the Universal Geography volumes. I unveiled mends that I did the last time and was pleased with them. Today for a change of pace, I went through places where there weren’t any foldout maps and looked for “dog-eared” or otherwise creased pages, and swept out each page near the spine. Didn’t find anything too interesting today, but definitely made some progress. My wheat paste came out smoother than other times and I made some long mends that were fun. Here is what my work area looks like (some of the time).

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I have a note on it that says “Fragile – please do not move” for students working in the lab, but the students that work here are great and probably don’t need it – but it makes me feel better! 🙂