Paper Repair

Torn pages are very common in well-used books such as these textbooks and Sunday school books. If a small tear is left unmended, it can easily become a larger tear or even a loss (when a piece of the page goes missing). Paper repair for special collections materials is done with very thin Japanese paper and wheat starch paste. Paste is the preferred adhesive because it is water soluble. If the repair should ever have to be undone, it can easily be removed in water. When completed, the repair should be almost invisible.

book with torn and fragile pages book after pages were repaired
This page was extremely fragile and there were large voids. These were filled with a thin Japanese paper to support what was left of the original.
Knowles, James D. (James Davis), 1798-1838
Life of Mrs. Ann H. Judson, late missionary to Burmah ; with an account of the American Baptist mission to that empire.
Philadelphia, American Sunday School Union, 1830
BV3271.J81 K6
Description:  266 p., front. (port.) plates 15 cm.
Note:  Page images and full text transcriptions (pdf) available on the Web as part of the digitization project "Shaping the Values of Youth: Sunday School Books in 19th Century America."
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scroll decoration  scroll decoration  scroll decoration
book with stained pages
Many of the pages in this book were stained with an oil-like substance. In the worst affected areas, the paper has actually been eaten away. Removing the stains may be impossible, but the paper can be washed and then reinforced with Japanese paper to stop further damage.
Prescott, A. B. (Albert Benjamin), 1832-1905
First book in qualitative chemistry
New York : D. Van Nostrand, 1892.
Edition 7th ed., rev.
QD83 .P74 1892
Description:  162, p. ; 19 cm.
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scroll decoration  scroll decoration  scroll decoration
White, Emerson E. (Emerson Elbridge), 1829-1902
A new complete arithmetic : uniting oral and written exercises
New York : American Book Co., c1883.
QA103 .W63 1883b
Description:  362 p. : ill. ; 19 cm.
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book with pages indicating damage to the textblock
When the pages of a book look like this, there is bound to be some damage to the textblock. In this case, the book needs extensive paper repair and to be resewn.
book with pages torn from the textblock
Many of the pages had been torn from the textblock. After the book is disbound, the pages will be repaired so they can be sewn again.
book with damaged or missing pages
The last several pages of the book were extensively damaged and missing large sections.
book with scribbles and doodles
Many of these school books have scribbles and doodles from their original owners. While surface dirt is removed from soiled pages, such marking are not removed since they are part of the provenance of the volume.
book after repair for missing endsheets
When the original endsheets are missing, a new, acid-free sheet is inserted to help protect the textblock.
book after torn pages were repaired
What the last few torn and tattered pages look like after being repaired.
book after being resewn and pages repaired
A view of the resewn book opened to reveal repairs on the page as well as in the "gutter", along the spine where the book is sewn.