Summer is approaching and travel plans have been made! Special Collections Research Center holds many images and books that represent great travel destinations in the United States and around the world. That is why we have planned a new exhibit – “Around the World in (Almost) Eighty Days: Traveling the Globe with Special Collections” to show off these wonderful pieces and maybe even help those who are still trying to figure out where to travel in the upcoming months. The exhibit will run from June 5 until mid-August and a reception will be held in Fenwick Library on June 15 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Hope to see you there – Bon Voyage!
For a brief period Wednesday, normal activity came to a halt in the Special Collections Research Center. Our fabulous Cataloging & Metadata Librarian, Friedgard Cowan, brought down a cart packed with recently cataloged rare books from Technical Services. When a rare book is donated or acquired, it is first cataloged in Technical Services, so that it will be accessible to researchers through our online Catalog. After it’s cataloged, the rare books are brought to the Research Services Coordinator in the Special Collections Research Center, so that we may assess any preservation needs it may have before shelving it in the stacks. Books in more fragile condition require an enclosure, like a phase box or four flap folder, before being able to be shelf-ready. Once it is determined that the book is “shelf-ready,” it is shelved in our closed stacks–ready to be pulled for the researchers who need it!
Seeing the “new to us” rare books is always exciting. So here, making their Special Collections Research Center debut:
First, an addition to our Decorated Bindings Collection! Elizabethan Songs “In Honour of Love and Beautie” Collected and Illustrated by Edmund H. Garrett, published in 1891.
In fact, music seems to be the theme of these recently cataloged books. From 1935, we have a first edition vocal score, “Songs from Top Hat,” with words and music by Irving Berlin. Songs included in this piano-vocal score include classics like, “Cheek to Cheek,” “Top Hat, White Tie and Tails,” and “No Strings (I’m Fancy Free).”
Finally, an early musical manuscript: plainsong!
Can you see the grotesque face in the initial below?
You can find these items and many more in our rare books collection. To search the rare books collection for interesting items from our collection, search the Mason Catalog, click on “Set Limit” and limit by the location “Fenwick Special Collections.”
E-mail us at email@example.com or call 703-993-2220 if you would like to schedule an appointment, request materials, or if you have any questions. Appointments are not necessary to view collections.
Constructed in the clamshell style, book boxes built like those described below completely enclose the volumes housed inside of them, providing support and protection to items with fragile or damaged bindings or covers. Custom cut individually to fit each specific item, these enclosures consists of three basic parts: a lower tray, an upper tray, and an outer case and are made of the same (acid free pH neutral) materials as bookbindings themselves. The example shown was made with archival quality binder’s board, polyvinyl acetate (PVA) adhesive, endsheet paper, and buckram following specifications laid out by the Library of Congress.
Boxes for the Protection of Books: A revised & updated version of the previous 1981 volume, Boxes for the Protection of Rare Books: Their Design and Construction by Lage Carlson, Margaret R. Brown, Library of Congress Preservation Directorate.
(Unfamiliar words? http://cool.conservation-us.org/don/ Many conservation and preservation terms are defined here.)
Clamshell enclosures can be constructed as follows:
- MEASURE THE BOOK
- FILL OUT WORKSHEETS
- COVERING MATERIALS
- LINING MATERIALS
- CUT MATERIALS
- BOARDS FOR TRAYS AND CASE
- COVERING MATERIALS
- LINING MATERIALS
- ASSEMBLE THE BOX
- BUILD TRAYS
- COVER TRAYS
- COVER CASE
- ATTACH TRAYS TO CASE
- ATTACH SPINE LINING
- ATTACH TRAY LINING
To properly protect the book, it must be snugly fit into its clamshell. To do so, the creator must measure with precision, taking into account the thickness of the boards, cloth, and lining paper.
Once all of the boards have been cut to size, the case boards will be put together much like a typical book binding to wrap around the whole thing, and trays will be assembled with butt joints using PVA. One tray should fit into the other with a bit of wiggle room to accommodate the coverings yet to be applied. The book to be housed should fit into the smaller tray with a lesser amount of open space.
Length = head-to-tail Board = wall, base, and case; single or double thickness
Width = spine-to-fore edge Covering = cloth, buckram, etc
Height = spine thickness Lining = end sheet, Japanese tissue, etc
A = 2 thicknesses of board + 8 thicknesses of covering material
B = 1 thickness of board + 4 thicknesses of covering material
C = 2 thicknesses of lining material + 4 thicknesses of covering material
D = 2 thicknesses of board + 8 thicknesses of covering material
E = 1 thickness of board + 4 thicknesses of covering material
F = 1 thickness of board + 4 thicknesses of covering material
G = 1/16 of an inch for a fore edge lip
H = 1 thickness of board
Making the trays:
Covering the trays:
Once you’ve constructed and covered your trays, take a moment to ensure that the book fits into the smaller tray and that the smaller tray fits into the larger tray, then move on to the case.
Making the case:
Covering the case:
Assembling the clamshell at this point is a matter of attaching the trays to the case and lining the trays and spine. Once completed, you’ll have an enclosure that will support fragile bindings and protect delicate covers.
For more information, webinars and events related to Preservation Week, go to ala.org/alcts/preservationweek.
“Earth laughs in flowers, to see her boastful boys
Earth-proud, proud of the earth which is not theirs;
Who steer the plough but cannot steer their feet
Clear of the grave.” – “Hamatreya” by Ralph Waldo Emerson
This post was written by Khalid Tamimi, Research Services Student Assistant and undergraduate in marketing.
Special Collections Research Center holds a myriad of materials that cover the flourishing world of Botany. This includes photograph collections, like the one by Kjell B. Sandved, or books like Histoire des plantes vénéneuses et suspectes de la France (The history of venomous and suspicious plants of France), Temple of Flora, and many more that we have in our catalog.
Kjell B. Sandved, Norwegian nature photographer, spent his life traveling across our green planet and capturing its versatility and beauty one frame at a time. His images capture so much detail that a mere glimpse is enough to slow down ones perception of time and get lost in a lifeless image that portrays the very essence of life itself.
As one peruses over the breathtaking photographs you can’t help but envy those who have dedicated their lives to the study and observation of nature’s finest. We as a species seem to be obsessed with beauty yet we tend to forget the ever-blooming beauty that Mother Nature is.
Flowers are a great reminder that standing out and being different warrant celebration rather than scrutiny. As social creatures, we fixate on assimilation and yet we often forget that beauty almost always lies in uniqueness. At first glimpse do you notice the single flower? Or the identical leaflets on either side?
Histoire des Plantes Vénéneuses et Suspectes de la France contains over 100 plant species which vary in beauty but are all poisonous. This 1798 book provides information on each plant, though written in French, describing the parts of each plant and other useful facts. L’Hellebore noir is a beautiful flower that can be found across France; also known as the Christmas rose or Helleborus Niger. Despite its misleading name this plant does not belong to the rose family rather is an evergreen perennial flowering plant in the buttercup family. Despite its aesthetic charm, this flower is actually poisonous. Touching or being near this plant can cause the burning of the eyes, mouth, and throat, coughing, and in some cases, oral ulcerations. This may be Mother Nature’s subtle reminder that just because something appears beautiful does not mean that it is harmless or good.
Written in 1951, this oversize edition of Thorton’s Temple of Flora (originally Thorton published some editions in the late 18th century and early 19th century) has large, beautiful illustration of flowers, most of which are in color. The text within the book describes Thorton’s life, interests in botany and his relationship with the Darwin family. Exploring these illustrations, one can learn vital life lessons from natures finest. Not only should we all take the time to appreciate the intricacies of the natural world that we live in. Similarly, we can learn a lot about ourselves and how we coexist with other living things in this world. We can coincide peacefully together, regardless of the differences in the colors of our petals, their origins, or which way we choose to face the sun.
To search the collections held at Special Collections Research Center, go to our website and browse the finding aids by subject or title. You may also e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 703-993-2220 if you would like to schedule an appointment, request materials, or if you have questions. Appointments are not necessary to request and view collections.