Of Inks and Skins, and the Stories They Tell
The Library of Congress » Rare Books and Special Collections
by Bobbi Hinton
3M ago
The following is a guest post by Cindy Connelly Ryan and Meghan Hill, preservation science specialists, Research and Testing Division, and team members of the Inks and Skins project. “Thirteen hundred years of Irish manuscripts, in a day, at the Library of Congress! What a marvelous event!” said Eugene Flanagan, Director of General and International Collections. The Inks and Skins collaboration bridges heritage science and humanities approaches to studying the materiality of late medieval Gaelic language manuscripts. Team members from University College Cork (UCC)’s Department of Modern Irish ..read more
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Nothing General About It: Ten Weeks in GCCS
The Library of Congress » Rare Books and Special Collections
by Lily Tyndall
6M ago
The following is a guest post by GCCS Intern Mary Lawrence. Mary recently earned her Master of Science in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she focused on coursework in librarianship and preservation. After this internship, she will be moving to Ann Arbor, Michigan to be the Librarian for Western European Studies with Germanic Focus at the University of Michigan Library. In the fall of 2022, I was enrolled in my third semester of graduate school at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and taking a survey course of book, paper ..read more
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Good Wood: Using Beech to Rebind a Medieval Manuscript, Part 3
The Library of Congress » Rare Books and Special Collections
by Chloe Genter
7M ago
This is a guest post by John Bertonaschi, Senior Rare Book Conservator in the Conservation Division. In part two, I acquainted you with the history and condition of our 13th century Law Library manuscript, Decretum Gratiani. I told you that, as part of a restoration in the late 19th or early 20th century, the spine was coated with liquid hide glue, which caused the parchment text block to distort and the spine to become rigid. The book could not be opened fully, making the script on the inner margins inaccessible. Now, I will write about our efforts to alleviate these problems and repair some ..read more
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The Artist as Reader? Looking at Dirty Books
The Library of Congress » Rare Books and Special Collections
by Bobbi Hinton
7M ago
The following is a post by Cindy Connelly Ryan, Preservation Science Specialist, Preservation Research and Testing Division (PRTD).   Many of the drawing and painting manuals printed in the 17th-19th centuries were expensive, beautifully made editions, produced for a wealthy and literate upper-class readership. This has led some scholars to conclude that these books were received and read primarily in a literary manner, as part of the broad cultural education of fine ladies and gentlemen, but largely not used for much practical application, and certainly not intended for, or used in, the ..read more
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The Companionable Book Cover Designs of Margaret Armstrong
The Library of Congress » Rare Books and Special Collections
by Lily Tyndall
8M ago
The following is a guest post by Preservation Specialist Leslie Long in the General Collections Conservation Section. She conserves bound materials and pursues ongoing research in nineteenth century book cover design. Margaret Armstrong (1867-1944) was one of the most successful book design artists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. She designed more than three hundred covers, mostly for Scribner, but for other publishers, too, including Putnam, Bobbs-Merrill, Crowell, Harper, McClurg, Dodd-Mead, Church, Appleton, Pott, Houghton Mifflin, and MacMillan. She was the eldest of ..read more
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From Jikji to Gutenberg
The Library of Congress » Rare Books and Special Collections
by Chloe Genter
10M ago
This post is co-written by Jacob Nadal and Dan Paterson. Jacob Nadal is Director for Preservation, and his work focuses on creating a sustainable plan for keeping the Library’s collections available. Dan Paterson is a senior book conservator in the Preservation Directorate.  He works on materials from the Asian Division and the Rare Book and Special Collections Division, providing conservation treatment primarily for early printed books and manuscripts.  He has been a member of the Jikji to Gutenberg team since 2021. On April 13th and 14th, the Library of Congress hosted From Jikji t ..read more
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The Secret (Past) Lives of Library Books
The Library of Congress » Rare Books and Special Collections
by Bobbi Hinton
1y ago
The following is a post by Meghan Wilson and Cindy Connelly Ryan, preservation science specialists in the Preservation Research and Testing Division, with Marianna Stell, reference librarian in the Rare Book and Special Collections Division. Given as tokens of affection, discarded as outdated, scribbled upon because a pen was dry, annotated heavily as part of a scholarly project: every book has a story beyond its text. This fall, staff members in the Preservation Research and Testing Division at the Library of Congress have been helping curators and scholars to uncover traces of those stories ..read more
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New Understanding of an Old Image
The Library of Congress » Rare Books and Special Collections
by Bobbi Hinton
1y ago
The following post is by Cindy Connelly Ryan and Meghan Wilson, preservation science specialists in the Preservation Research and Testing Division with Marianna Stell, reference librarian in the Rare Books and Special Collections Division Advances in scientific instrumentation permitting non-invasive micro-scale analysis are bringing a revolution to the scholarly understanding of the texts and images of medieval manuscripts, wherein investigating the materiality of the original object unlocks new information about its current condition, its original making, and its meaning. A dramatic example ..read more
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How Pennsylvania Got an “R”
The Library of Congress » Rare Books and Special Collections
by Samantha Schireson
1y ago
This is a guest post by Claire Dekle, Senior Book Conservator in the Conservation Division. The influential “Join, or Die” cartoon first appeared in the May 9, 1754 issue of the Pennsylvania Gazette. It represented the British North American colonies as a severed snake cut into eight segments, with the New England region as its head. Benjamin Franklin published the cartoon along with an editorial urging colonial political unity in relation to conflict and negotiations with the French and the Haudenosaunee, or Iroquois Confederacy. He was joined by others in arguing for greater unified action d ..read more
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Good Wood: Using Beech to Rebind a Medieval Manuscript, Part 1
The Library of Congress » Rare Books and Special Collections
by Samantha Schireson
1y ago
This is a guest post by John Bertonaschi, Senior Rare Book Conservator in the Conservation Division. In the course of caring for the Library’s rare collections, the Conservation Division sometimes must rebind books that were originally bound with cover boards made of hardwood. Whenever possible, we attempt to use the same materials and techniques for the new binding, so we are always on the lookout for the right species and size of wood to make new cover boards. This wood must be quarter sawn, which is the most dimensionally stable but also the least cost-effective way to cut up a log. The Div ..read more
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