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A Sixty-year Odyssey in Bookbinding and Conservation


Don Etherington

A Sixty-year Odyssey in Bookbinding and Conservation chronicles Don Etherington's career and describes how the bookbinding and conservation fields have evolved during this time and how he learned from and contributed to this evolution.

The Workshop

Historic cloth case binding repair

In this workshop students learned the fundamentals of on the restoration and repair of historic cloth bindings from the 19th and early 20th centuries using the combination of Japanese paper and linen. The covers were removed, and the spines cleaned and relined. Next Japanese paper was toned to match the original fabric and lined to linen. The original cloth on the boards was then lifted along the spine so that the new cloth covering the spine could be adhered to the boards. The cover was then reattached to the textblock and then the original spine piece was attached to the new spine. Corners were also repaired using toned Japanese paper.

The workshop was attended by 12 students ranging in abilities from professionals drawn from regional libraries to first timers drawn largely from Syracuse University's iSchool and Museum Studies program.

A special thank you to Gaylord Brothers for their generous gift of supplies and educational materials for this workshop. It was greatly appreciated.

Gaylord Brothers

About the Speaker

Don Etherington began bookbinding at age thirteen as a student at the Central School of Arts and Crafts and at Harrison's & Company in London. He studied bookbinding and design with Edgar Mansfield and Ivor Robinson at the London School of Printing and worked as a conservator for the BBC and Roger Powell and Peter Waters. From 1967 to 1969, he was a training consultant at the Biblioteca Nazionale in Florence where he trained individuals in conservation practices as part of the flood response effort. He came to the Library of Congress (LC) in 1970 with Peter Waters, where he served as Training Officer and Assistant Restoration Officer. He served as Assistant Director and Chief Conservation Officer at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin. In 1987, he joined Information Conservation, Inc. where he created a new conservation division. In 1982, he co-authored, with Matt Roberts, Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books: A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology, the first comprehensive attempt to compile terminology from all the bookmaking and conservation fields.

The Brodsky Series for the Advancement of Library Conservation is endowed through a generous gift by William J. ‘65, G’ 68 and Joan Brodsky ‘67, G’68 of Chicago, Illinois. Beginning in 2004, the endowment has been used to sponsor programs that promote and advance knowledge of library conservation theory, practice, and application among wide audiences, both on campus and in the region. Programs will typically include lectures and workshops by prominent library conservators.

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