One Hundred Years of Conservation Documentation

Susan Russick, Giselle Simon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Newberry Library’s involvement with the world of conservation dates back to 1887, seven years before the library established an in-house bindery. By the 1930s there were twenty-six employees in the bindery, which produced two thousand bound volumes per month, including work for outside institutions and individuals. Although several fine binders were brought in to work on special collections materials, it wasn’t until 1964, when Paul Banks was recruited as library conservator, that a regular conservation program began. Mr. Banks individualize treatment of books by incorporating input from curatorial staff and developing a standard documentation form that included photography. The current staff of two full-time and four part-time employees, along with a host of volunteers and interns, perform all in-house treatment and documentation. About two hundred volumes of post-1975 periodicals are sent to a commercial binder annually. This long history of over one hundred years of binding and conservation treatment produced a wide variety of documentation, ranging from bindery statistics and collection-level documentation to detailed reports for single items. Over twenty distinct types of conservation documentation have been used at the Newberry, adding to the rich history of conservation at the Newberry Library.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-95
Number of pages7
JournalThe Book and Paper Group Annual
StatePublished - 2005


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