April 11th

Today I’ve been given several new projects head of Special Collections, Kathryn Stallard! She gave me a poster to flatten and mend and a stack of signatures, ready to be bound into a book! I haven’t bound a book from start to finish in quite a while, but I have lots of books and papers from my class with Pricilla Spitler, so I’ll just see how it goes. Here is a pic of the stack in question!

20140411-144003.jpg

But first things first – I’ve tucked the poster into a humidity chamber and hope that it will be in there long enough today for me to press it. Ours is a makeshift chamber consisting of two trashcans and a trash bag. The larger trashcan has room-temperature distilled water in the bottom of it, and the poster is placed in the smaller trashcan, which is placed inside the larger trashcan. It’s covered with a trash bag to seal it and left for many hours. The humidity in the air from the standing, room-temp water is enough to slightly dampen – or humidify – the paper, hopefully enough to relax it from it’s tightly curled position, after which I will press and dry it between some spun polyester and blotting paper. The spun polyester is important in this case, because not knowing how this poster was made or what coatings might be on the surface, you wouldn’t want to risk it sticking or drying to the blotting paper, and the spun polyester would prevent it from doing so. My only concern is that the poster won’t be in the humidity chamber for long enough. If this is the case, I’ll have to change up some of my hours but we will see how things turn out today.

Now that I have the poster in the humidity chamber, I can return to working on my other, long-term projects. I unveiled some of my mends I did on the 1920s Megaphone, and they look pretty good! A side note about unveiling mends – should you be gentile and careful removing the spun polyester from the mends – they *will* stick a small bit sometimes, and so a gentile prod with a spatula will help them release. Here is a picture of one of the mends up close. You can see the tag of Japanese tissue – this will be trimmed off.

20140411-145651.jpg

I also did a mend on a page from the geography books. The page looks like this:

20140411-160521.jpg

Very brittle and damaged, as you can see. I decided to stabilize the edge of the page first – in the next photo, you can see that I’ve placed a piece of the mending tissue over the crumbling edge, and it is wet with wheat paste. I’ve left a lot of the mending tissue on the right so that it can serve as the edge of the page.

20140411-160846.jpg

Now it’s time to clean up! See you next time!

April 4th, 2014

Back again! Today I am working on the Megaphone project. I have finished bathing and drying the pages, and wow, are they brittle! I’m starting today by treating each page, front and back, with Bookkeeper deacidification spray. Newsprint is especially acidic, and to prevent it from further deterioration, it is treated with a spray. It goes on lightly and dries quickly, so I am able to do this treatment and move right on to something else, like repairing the tears. Here is a pic of the Bookkeeper spray – you can get it at places that sell conservation stuff, like Gaylord. It cost around $30 for 8 oz. and around $100 to buy the 32 oz. refill. Not cheap stuff!

20140403-144442.jpg

Many of the pages, after soaking and drying, have broken down the crease where they were folded for so many years. The paper was weakened by the fold and also the acidity, so I guess this is not surprising.

20140403-145815.jpg

I will put them back together using a very transparent mending tissue so as not to obscure the pictures and text. I will have to make a decision regarding on what side of the page to put the mend, and choose the side that obscures the least, but unfortunately, many of them have just as much on both sides, so the mend will just have to be!

In looking at my first mend, I see that it’s not going to go back together easily. This page isn’t separated at the fold, but almost. When attempting to line up the sides of the paper that has been torn, they don’t line up – they are left with a gap. This could be because sometimes, when a paper has been folded repeatedly, it tends to crumble off at these breaks, in which case a men’s using the tissue as a filler for the missing material would be appropriate. However, in this case, the text on either side of the break is intact, suggesting that no paper is missing. This suggests to me that the paper has stretched – that’s right, paper can stretch – and therefore the mend will not be as aligned as I would like. The stretching probably occurred when it came from the water bath onto the blotting paper for drying, and during the weighted drying process.

More next time!