If you thought a lot happened in the first two weeks, almost more happened in the second two. Monday was Memorial Day, so I stayed home and spent time with my family. Tuesday was super busy, but really productive. I learned how to check temperature and humidity readings at the Museum, which can be used to track changes and potential issues. I also punched holes in the hymnbook and sewed the textblock together using linen tapes. I also finished the hardcover books that had the new spine hollows by gluing the hollow and placing the book back in the case, and securing the endsheets using Japanese paper.
Thursday was rather cool because while attending a 40th anniversary for one of the employees, I saw Elder Ballard and Elder Nelson. It was the closest I had ever been to a General Authority. I also stayed late because Aaron flew in that night! It was so good to see him, although it was only for the weekend. I also took Friday off to spend time with him, and we went to my cousin’s wedding on Friday.
This is a document that needed to have some tape removed from it. I have already removed the tape using acetone, but there was still a stick residue and some transparency left. So, I soaked this document, along with some other documents in an acetone/toluene mixture, which easily removed the tape and all residue.
One of the next projects I finished was the reed organ hymnbook that I made all of the repairs on. This is the finished book, after I had soaked the original boards to remove the paper covers. I also constructed a flatback case that resembled the original construction. I then glued the paper covers on top of the cloth.
This is a picture of the inside cover. To be able to case in the textblock (or pages) into the hardcover case, I needed an extra piece. When I resewed the book, I attached a 2 inch cloth hinge to the front and back sections. When I cased in the book, I glued out these hinges, and then placed the original paper endsheets over the cloth hinge as a separate pastedown.
This is an example on the repairs I made within the book. The top of the pages had a fill to replace the missing paper. Along the edge are smaller repairs and fills.
The last major project that I worked on was repairing a 1887 Doctrine and Covenants. The book was from the St. George Temple, and would be returned to them after the repairs were made. This meant that a little more conservation work was required, which was great for me. The first steps I did were to remove the textblock from its case, undo the sewing, and wash the pages.
These images are after the pages have been washed, and are laid out to dry. The paper was initially resistant to water, so the first bath was done in alcohol. I did three subsequent baths in water, and then de-acidified the pages using calcium hydroxide and a pH level of 8-9. I then collated the book, or put the pages back in order. This is more difficult than it seems since there are multiple pages folded together, so each sheet will not have sequential numbers. There were also a number of pages that had been torn in half along the spine, so it caused more problems.
Eventually, I realized that each section had a signature. This is a small printed mark, in this case a letter, in the corner of the first page of each section. These are in order, so I quickly knew which page was first in each grouping, so the process went quickly. The next step was to repair the tears. These were mostly along the spine, and included putting the torn pages back together.
After all the repairs were made, I punched holes and started the sewing. This is a picture of a sewing frame. These are used when sewing a book together using linen tapes or cord. This book was sewn with cords because that was the original construction. I had never sewn using tapes before, so the set up took quite a while.
I also had some problems with the book fitting back in the case. This is due to all of the extra paper from the repairs. I also had some mistakes in the sewing, so I had to redue the whole thing with smaller thread.
The second one turned out much better. This is the almost finished textblock.
In this picture, I have consolidated the spine, and then rounded it so it will fit back in the case. Rounding is traditionally done to spines to remove swell. Swell is when the spine is significantly thicker than the front edge, or fore edge, of the book. Rounding helps make these two sides more even.
One thing I forgot to do was up the title pages back on. So, I used a longer piece of Japanese paper to wrap around the whole spine as the lining. This was after I consolidated and rounded everything, and the finished spine can be seen below.
The final steps were to put the textblock back in the case, or case it in. I glued in the spine, and then sealed the edges of the textblock with Japanese paper.
I absolutely loved my time at the Church History Library and was able to work on some really exciting projects. I learned a lot about what conservation concerns exist, how they can be tracked and managed, and training others as well. It was time well spent, and I would love to return on day. I hope you enjoy, and ask questions if anything does not make sense.
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