Tag Archives: rare books

Today’s post is by Alice W. Campbell, Digital Initiatives Archivist at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Explore. Discover. Share.

A new gallery has opened at Virginia Commonwealth University, but this time the exhibit space is virtual and not physical. VCU Libraries Gallery gives the public an opportunity to discover some of the rare and intriguing materials held in Special Collections and Archives at James Branch Cabell Library and Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences. The Gallery will feature exhibits of book art, comic arts, manuscripts, rare books, medical artifacts and VCU university archives, and each item shown can easily be shared on social media. VCU Libraries Special Collections and Archives hope to reach new and potentially broader audiences by sharing collections online.

Home page of the new VCU Libraries Gallery.

Home page of the new VCU Libraries Gallery.

Three inaugural exhibits opened the Gallery. “Remembering Theresa Pollak: An Exhibition on the Founder of VCUarts” includes photographs and manuscripts from the collection of an exceptional artist and educator of great importance to VCU. Another exhibit, “From the Library of Dr. Herman J. Flax: Physician, Poet, Collector,” gives viewers a look into a collection of rare books related to physical medicine. “Through the Looking Glass” displays microscopic images created by VCU students, faculty and staff and selected on the basis of their aesthetic appeal, technical skill and scientific significance.

Theresa Pollak exhibit, one of the inaugural exhibits done by James Branch Cabell Special Collections and Archives.

Theresa Pollak exhibit, one of the inaugural exhibits by James Branch Cabell Special Collections and Archives.

Future exhibits will present interactive artists’ books, and traces of previous ownership found in library volumes. You can visit the VCU Libraries Gallery at https://gallery.library.vcu.edu/ and keep up to date with Gallery news by following @VCUExhibits on Twitter.

Rare Book Conservation at George Mason University, Special Collections and Archives

Originally posted on George Mason University’s Special Collections & Archives blog Vault217 on January 6, 2014 by Yvonne Carignan.

Conservation for rare books in Special Collections & Archives occurs routinely to make damaged books usable again. In the case of the 1820 Richmond imprint of the Proceedings and Debates of the Virginia State Convention of 1829-1830, our copy had a mutilated spine and the entire cover was separated from the text block as you see in the “before” photographs below. Conservation, using reversible materials and professional techniques, has resulted in a new spine created from compatibly colored and very strong Japanese paper. Meanwhile, the torn joints have been repaired, also using Japanese paper colored to match the beautiful original marbled end sheets.

Book_repair_GMU

Image of “Proceedings and Debates of the Virginia State Convention of 1829-1830” before conservation.

Book_repair2_GMU

Image of “Proceedings and Debates of the Virginia State Convention of 1829-1830” after conservation.

Another, more modern book, the 1925 publication, The Building of Satellite Towns, had torn hinges. The conservator was able to save part of the original spine this time by adhering it to the spine replacement. The torn joints were repaired by replacing the old end sheets with compatibly colored, but new, acid-free end sheets. Note that the conservator saved the book seller’s stamp in the lower right hand corner of the pastedown. Working with conservators to repair books in Special Collections & Archives is part of our role as good stewards of these valuable research collections.

Image on the left shows spine damage on "The Building of Satellite Towns." The image on the right shows the inside cover after conservation.

Image on the left shows spine damage on “The Building of Satellite Towns.” The image on the right shows the inside cover after conservation.

Satellite_Towns2_GMU

“The Building of Satellite Towns” spine after conservation.