The cello music collections at UNCG constitute the largest single holding of archival cello music-related materials in the world. Stacey Krim manages the collection. One of her many duties is identifying items needing conservation and/or restoration (what's the difference?) so that they may be used by researchers or in classes, stabilized for storage, or handled for digitization purposes.
|Four volumes before treatment|
|Left to Right: Quarter Leather, Half Leather, and Full Leather Bindings|
|Bound volumes with missing or detached spines|
Three of the bound music scores were missing the spine all together and one book had a detached spine. The leather at the spines and fore edge corners was dry and brittle. In some cases, the leather had worn away to reveal the book board underneath.
|Tail edge of damaged volume before treatment|
|Mended pages during the treatment process|
|After restoration treatment|
The paper sides, in this case blue paste paper, were also damaged and worn, particularly at the edges. The text block pages were in fairly good condition, but there were some tears and losses, including insect damage in a few places.
The interior pages were mended with Japanese paper and wheat starch paste. The covering material required several steps of treatment. The leather was treated with Klucel-G, a consolidant that also helps prevent the leather from burning (darkening) during the mending process as it is exposed to the moisture of the paste.
|Worn leather fore edge corner with damaged board underneath|
|Rebuilding the board with linen cord remnants and adhesive|
The book board was consolidated as well, and in some cases it was rebuilt where it was too damaged or was missing parts.
|During treatment - Japanese paper applied, then toned to match|
|After treatment - corners fully restored|
|Spines during treatment|
|Spine reattached and secured with toned Japanese paper|
The new spines were created with Japanese paper laminated to Irish linen to lend strength, then attached to the books. The one remaining original spine was reattached over the laminated Japanese paper and Irish linen.
|Four volumes after treatment|
Not all of the books we treat receive full restoration such as these. For example, the priority for a book in the generally circulating collection is to return it to service quickly having been repaired in a method that can withstand the use of many patrons over a long period of time. Though we make every effort to create a tidy, attractive repair, the priority is the strength and speed of the repair. Though the restoration of the four volumes of cello music provides a functional and aesthetically pleasing solution, it required a much more time-consuming process and is perhaps not capable of receiving the regular handling as a book in the general collection.
Nonetheless, it is a treat for us to do restoration work as it is a change of pace and often provides such satisfying results, though more challenging work to do.