August 29th

Today I am again working on the Laura Dewey Bridgman book. So far I have reattached the shards that had broken off, and now I am reattaching the other half of the page. I had to do the mend in two parts because the page was broken off very close to the margin, and as a result, it wouldn’t lay down flat enough to do the mend. I ended up putting small weights on one half, and mending the other. Here is a picture of the book as we wait for the wheat paste to dry.

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There are many weights that could be used for any given project – here is a picture of a few:

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The weights beginning from top left and continuing clockwise are:

  • Fabric covered flat weights – covered in non-treated muslin, and used to put light weight to keep the pages of small books, pamphlets, brochures etc.
  • Glass weights – used in the reading room to hold book pages open so the patron doesn’t use fingers or hand to put pressure on fragile paper. Can also be used to put under another weight, to distribute weight across a larger area, as seen in first picture.
  • String weights – a string of small, cylindrical weights in woven nylon. Used for even lighter pressure than the fabric covered weights. Can be used in small places and can assume different shapes as needed.
  • Lead weights – covered in felt and very heavy and are used mostly to weight mends or to put a significant amount of pressure on things being glued together or pressed. Lead is no longer used to make these weights – they are now made of brass or other flat, cast-iron weights are used.

I just took the weights off of the Bridgman page and here is a closeup of the results.

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I’ve also begun a new mend – this one being a severely deteriorated edge of a tear with the rest of the page missing. This is how it looks from the back before I attempt to reinforce it with tissue.

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I want to thank the student who came in to have a look at what I was doing – I forgot to ask a name! Remember that I’m there in the preservation lab almost every Friday afternoon, so anyone should feel free to pop in and say hi and see what I’m doing. I enjoy the company and love to talk about my projects!

August 8th

Today I am working on a book published in 1899 titled Life and Education of Laura Dewey Bridgman, The Deaf, Dumb, and Blind Girl by Mary Swift Lamson. Laura Bridgman’s story is similar to Helen Keller’s, although Laura predates her. Below are pictures of the title page and facing page with Laura’s picture.

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If you want to know more about Laura Dewey Bridgman, come by SU’s Special Collections and browse through it – it really is facinating! Also, here is a collection at the Perkins School for the Blind Archive, which has many personal artifacts including letters she wrote, things she made etc. Click here to see a collection of photos of those artifacts.

The mend I’m doing is on a brittle page the was weakened by a foldout that was included in the binding of the book. Below you can see that due to the pressure of the folded paper, the previous page has crumbled.

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One challenge of this mend is that when the page crumbled, many small pieces broke off and matching them back up is a task!

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I’m working slowly on the tiny shards, and it’s coming along nicely.

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