Welcome To Our New Staff: Jennifer Blomberg

Jennifer Blomberg has joined the DUL Conservation Department as our technician for special collections. She has been with us since February 2011, and has already made over 700 custom enclosures! I’ve promised her some repair work, too, not to worry.

When asked to describe one of her favorite conservation projects, she answered:

The “Herbert Sondheim Company” scrapbook of fashion drawings from the Fashion Institute of Technology has been one of my most favorite conservation treatments to date. Herbert Sondheim ran a dressmaking company that made affordable versions of high-end fashion.

These drawings, many of which are hand-colored on thin tracing paper, date from the 1920’s to the 1940’s and depict works of Vionnet, Chanel, Molyneux and other noted designers. Not only are the drawings visually interesting, the treatment offered many challenges that included collation, systematically removing the drawings from the acidic scrapbook pages without disturbing the water soluble inks, mending and flattening the sketches, and re-housing.

Jennifer has a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Conservation with a concentration in Collections Care, along with minors in Art History and Fine Arts from the University of Delaware. She is currently pursuing a Masters of Library and Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh School of Information Sciences. She is earning her MLIS with a specialization in Archives, Preservation, and Records Management. Prior to coming to Duke Jennifer was a Conservation Technician at the Conservation Center for Art and Historical Artifacts in Philadelphia, PA.

Welcome to Duke Jennifer!

Repairing de Bry, One Piece At A Time

Written by Erin Hammeke, Conservator for Special Collections.

I recently completed the treatment of three separate volumes from Theodor de Bry’s account of the Americas, and I thought I would share an anecdote from the treatment of one of the volumes, Das vierdte Buch von der Neuwen Welt (Frankfurt, 1594).

This item has an engraved map of the Florida coast and Gulf of Mexico bound in at the front of the text. The curators informed me that this map was missing about a half of the complete printed map, the whole right side. They felt that it would be useful to indicate to researchers just how much of the map was missing by doing a repair and fill to the original dimensions of the plate.

An interesting thing happened. There was a small fragment, apparently tucked in with the map that I assumed belonged along the torn edge, but upon closer inspection, did not appear to line up with any part of the map along that edge.

Lucky for us, UNC Wilson Library has a version of this volume with a complete map. We contacted our conservation colleagues at UNC and arranged to see the map at their conservation lab. I took an image of the fragment with me to see if we could place it while we were there, but we couldn’t, so, we took a digital photograph of their map in its entirety and headed back to our lab.

I blew up the digital image and printed it out to the actual dimensions of the original, and I superimposed this printout onto our partial map on a light table. I was surprised to find that the small fragment actually belonged near to the center of the missing portion of the plate.

After some head-scratching, the curators and I decided that it was best to adhere the fragment in its rightful place. Again, using the light-table and printout as a guide, I adhered it precisely where it belonged.

I was pleased to be able to share this project with scholars who use these works at a recent symposium dedicated to the latest issue of the Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies. And I am happy to say that all three of the treated volumes were recently digitized by the Digital Production Center and are now available through the library’s catalog.

Here is a picture of the map after washing, lining, repairing, and adhering the loose fragment with paste.

Preservation Video Rodeo Roundup, pt. 5 (The Rest of the Videos)

Welcome to the final day of our Preservation Week video rodeo roundup. Today is a grab bag of preservation and conservation related videos, and a couple plain ol’ library videos, that we like. If you have found others you like that are in this same genre, please leave a link in the comments.

Book artist and author Bea Nettles on learning about preservation and how it has changed her work.


LYRASIS (formerly SOLINET) shows you how to safely remove a paperclip. I know you want to send this to all of your processors, don’t you? They will also show you how to remove staples.


Library security from the T.C. Beirne Law Library at the University of Queensland, Australia.


Just for fun: In 2009 to take a break from studying, an estimated 3,000 students created a flashmob at the UNC Chapel Hill Davis Library. Hmmm, today is the last day of classes here, I wonder if our students will do something like this?


Preservation Video Rodeo Roundup, pt. 4 (Insects and Disasters)

Welcome to part four of our Preservation Week video roundup. Today we have for your enjoyment some fun videos on not-so-fun topics: insects and disasters.

First up, my favorite insect video from the University of Florida Smathers Library Preservation Department. This, my friends, is why you want to keep the lid on the trash cans.


From our former colleague comes this humorous video. Thanks to UNC-Greensboro Preservation Committee for a fun look at insects in the library.


The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne Preservation Department recently put together some books on shelves to see what happens when a sprinkler head goes off. It’s always fun to watch books get wet.


After a flash flood hit the Hamilton Library on the campus of the University of Hawaii, the Conservation Department had to clean and repair the damage.


Just for fun: Mr. Bean tries to thwart security at his local library.


Duke University Libraries Preservation