Tag Archives: 19th century publishers bindings

Conservation Tips: Sharing knowledge, Solving Problems

Conservation Department tips session.
Conservation Department tips session.

When I first started here we had a variety of skill sets on the staff. To help build our skills, share ideas and create a forum to ask questions, I started “Tuesday Tips at Two,” a weekly meeting with the staff. On Tuesdays we would gather and share tips and tricks on everything from turning corners on cloth clamshell boxes to controlling the curling of the endsheets when putting a new case on a text block.

Those weekly tip sessions have turned into monthly ones. Before our monthly staff meeting, if someone has a tip or wants opinions about how to solve a treatment problem, we gather as a group to  learn from each other or to offer feedback.

Corner repair demo.
Jig for corner fills.

Last month we had a double-tip session. Mary presented a tip on using Japanese tissue and paste to fill lost corners on 19th Century publisher’s bindings, and Erin presented a tip on using embossing plates (sold in craft stores) to mimic the pressed-fabric you often see on 19th Century publisher’s bindings. It was an educational and fun tips session.

Embossing plates (purple).
Embossing plates (purple).
Embossed repair tissue.
Embossed repair tissue.

Phreno Charts And Conservation

I wanted to show off a beautiful repair that Mary completed recently. I saw this on the “ready for quality control” shelf and just fell in love with her repair.

The title is “Improved Phreno-Chart” by Br. C. Townsend (1859). The book needed a reback. Mary toned a piece of cotton to match the color of the original cover, then she took some sandpaper to the cotton to rough it up to mimic the wear on the original cloth. She did a really lovely job making the new spine blend into the original cloth.


What makes the book even more fun is the content. The book is a meant to be a workbook for an individual to fill out. In this case, Charles Miller was tested on February 9, 1864.


The text is filled with scores. I’m not sure what they mean, but it is really interesting to see a working document like this in the general collections.