Special Collections and University Archives received a wonderful gift from Judith Fetterley, a first edition copy of Silver Pitchers: and Independence, a Centennial Love Story by Louisa May Alcott published by Roberts Brothers in Boston, 1876.
Conservator Audrey Sage was able to put a plan into action to provide some repair and restoration to this wonderful book. Part of the original spine was missing and the original text block spine adhesive was failing leaving the text block at risk for damage and deterioration.
The first step was to carefully remove the
remaining spine adhesive. This was able to be accessed due to the damage of the
cover cloth. Once the old adhesive was
removed, I was able to apply a layer of new starch paste and a protective piece
of 18 gram Kozo Japanese paper. This creates
a strong and supportive layer for the textlbock signatures. The next action was to create a paper hollow
along the spine.
Sage was then able to carefully lift the original cloth from the cover boards
in order to insert a new spine substrate to recreate and reform the cloth
covering. This piece is constructed through
the lamination of a layer of linen cloth and a toned piece of Moriki Japanese
This new spine piece was inserted and formed around the book and then what
remained of the original spine was adhered to this piece.
Damaged corners were repaired, pages were surface cleaned, interior
hinges were mended, and finally the book is ready to be returned to the Special
Collections. It is now more secure and
easier to use and view with these archival mends in place.