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Friday, June 1 • 3:30pm - 4:00pm
51. (Collection Care) An inexpensive and visually appealing solution to environmentally based distortions in limp vellum bindings

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The Sutro Library is an important but neglected collection of ancient and modern materials which began as the personal collection of Adolph Sutro. In his life, he had intended to bestow upon the citizens of San Francisco a university level research library for their own edification. A populist by nature, he envisioned no special permissions or qualifications as being prerequisite to accessing the transformative powers of history, science, art, architecture, literature and languages. During his life he was unable to construct a building tfor his impressive collection, which at the time of his death was reputed to include the largest privately held collection of incunabula, First through Fourth Folios of William Shakespeare, Yemenite Hebrew scrolls, and expansive collections of English, American, German and Mexican pamphlets. During the dissolution of his estate his library, or what remained of it after having suffered significant loss in the 1906 earthquake and fire, was bequeathed to the California State Library. As a publicly accessible institution, this would ensure that no barriers to access would exist. An additional provision that the materials never be permanently housed outside the city limits of San Francisco would guarantee accessibility to the residents of the city which he loved and had so deeply impacted. Unfortunately, without an existing edifice in San Francisco that stipulation caused no end of difficulty for the State Library which is located about 90 miles away in the State Capital. The collection found temporary homes in four different locations during its first hundred years. As the precious offer of space which had been extended through the kindness of strangers would be rescinded, and a new location would have to be found again and again, a permanent location was finally found in 2012. The quality and suitability of temporary locations varied widely. From dirt floors in basements to damp temporary structures the collections have suffered tremendously due to poor storage conditions. Inappropriate shelving, inadequate housing and inconsistent environmental controls have resulted in distinct damage to many of the most important collections. One example is the effect of out-of-control relative humidity upon the Tlatelolco collection, which contains approximately 800 15th - 19th century volumes with the bulk of the 15th - 17th century imprints bound in vellum. Distortion is rampant. With the installation of a new Director this problem was prioritized. She identified the Tlatelolco collection as a source of both historical and visual importance for potential donors, and wanted a housing structure which would allow the limp vellum to be seen on the shelves. Due to the geographic distance between the materials and our Preservation department in Sacramento the work would need to be done on-site. Due to the number of items and low staffing the housing project would need to be completed with the help of student workers. Available funds for housing materials would be limited and the structure would need to be safe in accommodating various other types of damage such as torn covers. This poster will describe the proposed solution and workflow.

Speakers
CW

Colyn Wohlmut

Librarian, Sutro Library, California State Library
Colyn Wohlmut is a Librarian at the Sutro Library, California State Library. While working as a curatorial assistant at the Stanford University Libraries, she earned her MLIS from San José State University in 2009. Her active study of bookbinding inspired her to pursue a MA in Conservation... Read More →


Friday June 1, 2018 3:30pm - 4:00pm
Texas Ballroom (Foyer outside Ballrooms - Poster Session) Marriott Marquis Houston

Attendees (7)