Book and Paper Conservation at Cornell


On view during the summer of 2014 (Gallery level, Uris Library)

The Conservation Lab at Cornell University Library supports the Library’s mission to preserve knowledge and creative expression. The Conservation Lab conserves physical materials in their original format and ensures the Library’s collections are safe during research use, exhibition, loan, and digitization.

This exhibition showcases both bookbinding techniques and materials, and the development of hand papermaking; two craft traditions that greatly inform and direct conservation treatment practices.

Anatomy of a Case Binding shows the parts of the most typical hard cover binding in our libraries and how those parts are assembled.

What’s In a Book? displays samples of a wide range of materials used in bookbinding through the centuries.

Coptic Sewing focuses on stitch variations originated by the early Egyptian Christians that are similar to today’s machine sewn books.

The history and development of hand papermaking from its origins in China to its spread across Europe reveal how raw materials, local conditions and methods employed by Eastern and Western papermakers result in finished papers of distinct qualities and characteristics. This exhibition explores the differences in Eastern and Western sheet formation methods and highlights some of the specialty papers used in library conservation. Eastern and Western papers play important roles in conservation—from the paper support used for a drawing or photograph to the papers used to stabilize Cornell Library’s collections. The role of paper in the conservation treatment of paper artifacts and photograph conservation is illustrated through treatment examples.

Credits:

  • Michele Brown, Book Conservator
  • Pat Fox, Assistant Book Conservator
  • Michele Hamill, Paper and Photograph Conservator
  • Jill Iacchei, Conservation Technician
  • Caitlin Moore, Conservation Technician
  • Carol Kinsley-McNamara, Conservation Technician