Tuesday, July 27, 2010

out last week

I didn't post last week because I was at Rare Book School, taking the course "The American Book in the Industrial Era 1820-1940". What a week! We covered quite a time span, from the days of handmade paper, handmade type and hand bound books, right through the mechanization of the whole publishing process.

One of the really great things about Rare Book School is their teaching collection. It is one thing to read about the different types of paper, printing processes etc. but having examples on hand makes such a difference.

The plate on the right is a steel engraving, while the plate on the left is commonly called a wood engraving, even though it is actually a relief printing process. They're both made by hand. This particular wood engraving was used for an illustrated newspaper (see the sample just above it), while the steel engraving was probably for a book.

And then there's Lucille...Rare Book School has approximately 400 copies, that span over 30 years of publishing. For this class we looked at a little over 20 copies to get a sense of how the book changed in cover design but the publisher regularly re-used the same plates to print the text.

There were enough books to hand around so each student could make their own discovery about different editions or issues.
Intense and fun!

Friday, July 9, 2010

one of these things is not like the others

This is a group of diplomas and a certificate that I recently treated. The certificate on top is paper while the others are parchment. The paper document is from 1939, while the parchment documents are 1921, 1918, 1916 and 1915. They are not too far apart in age, have been boxed together as part of the same collection and underwent the same treatment for similar issues, but what a difference in aging.

Friday, July 2, 2010

not all stickers stick the same

Things change, especially in libraries. Books that were acquired in 1963 for the general collections have matured into rare books. The gorgeous publisher's cloth bindings, the scarcity of these titles in their original cover and their significance as milestones in their subject area are all factors in the transition to special collections.

Which means it is time to get the barcode stickers off the front cover. It can be done, but not all stickers stick the same. You've got to be ready for things to go smoothly like the two dark green books that had the same type of sticker, (the plastic carrier lifted nicely as did the residual adhesive when I applied a vinyl eraser) or not so smoothly as with the other book that had a different type of sticker (the paper carrier lifted quite readily, but the residual adhesive did not agree with the vinyl eraser). You've got to be ready to adapt your original plan, have another type of eraser on hand, or maybe a scalpel with a curved blade, not the straight blade. And if that doesn't work then be ready to try the hot air pencil, (maybe rolling the adhesive off with a metal spatula or maybe with an eraser) all the while paying close attention to the cloth of the book to make sure you are just lifting the sticker and residual adhesive and not scuffing the cloth or decoration and making a bigger mess.

And try not to cut yourself with the scalpel.