The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Posts Categorized: Conservation

What to do about the Macro manuscripts?

We thought we had the right question. Renate Mesmer (Head of Conservation), Heather Wolfe (Curator of Manuscripts), and I invited several scholars to the Folger for a lab-based discussion on “V.a.354: What to do about the Macro Manuscripts?” Specifically, the question was whether to rebind the items, and if so, together or separately, and if… Continue Reading »

The mystery of gridded paper

A guest post by Austin Plann Curley For a blank sheet of paper, we thought this one was pretty interesting. But before we get to what exactly it is, let’s refresh our understanding of how paper is made. Prior to the 19th century all paper was made by hand using a mold and a deckle…. Continue Reading »

Taming a tight binding

You know how some old bindings gently let a book stay open on its own, at a comfortable angle? And how other old bindings seem to willfully resist, taunting you by starting to close just as you get the book weights perfectly arranged? This post introduces a simple tool that can help tame those tight bindings: a V-shaped wedge of lightweight plastic. The Folger Reading… Continue Reading »

Unwanted doodles in a Shakespeare quarto

Our new curator of early modern books and prints, Caroline Duroselle-Melish, and I were up in the conservation lab a few days ago, consulting with book conservator Adrienne Bell on the optimal opening for safely digitizing a quarto edition of Henry VI, Part 3 (STC 21006a copy 1) in preparation for our “Wonder of Will” commemoration activities next… Continue Reading »

Another peek into the Conservation Lab

This month, the Conservation Lab is working on items that reflect a wide range of Folger activities and holdings. Some of the most beautiful books in the Folger’s collections are those with embroidered bindings. But such books are also among the most fragile. Here, book conservator Linda Hohneke takes a pretty little copy of Edward Gee’s Steps of ascension… Continue Reading »

Making a Karibari board

In conservation, the drying or humidification of paper poses particular challenges when dimensional and visual characteristics of the original paper are to be retained. Because of this, the drying of an artifact is a key step in its treatment. There are a range of paper drying techniques from which the conservator can select and adapt… Continue Reading »

A peek into the Conservation Lab

Ever wonder what the conservators are up to on our third floor? Here’s a peek into what’s happening in the Werner Gundersheimer Conservation Laboratory this month: The team is in full treatment mode for the Library’s upcoming exhibition, “Symbols of Honor: Heraldry and Family History in Shakespeare’s England,” opening this summer. Before every exhibition, of course, the conservation… Continue Reading »

What’s that smell? Getting personal with historic costumes

The Folger’s current exhibition, Here Is a Play Fitted, takes a broad look at how Shakespeare on the stage has changed over the past 400 years. For a full look at that topic, you have until January 12, 2014 to see the exhibition—and you should! But for this blog post, I’d like to focus in… Continue Reading »

Conserving the Cosway Portrait of Shakespeare

A guest post by Dawn Rogala Editor’s note: Folger conservators are internationally known for their expertise in book and paper conservation. When it comes to conserving paintings, though, we turn to outside experts like Dawn Rogala of Page Conservation, Inc. Here, Dawn explains how she treated the Cosway Portrait of Shakespeare. ((Mr. and Mrs. Folger purchased… Continue Reading »

How (not) to mend a tear

Going through a box of early 19th-century playbills recently, I was puzzled to see something paper-clipped to an area of loss on the right-hand edge of a bill, as if someone had attached a little note to it:

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