Bookbinding and Conservation Lab

The Marion L. Hobor Bookbindery and Paper Conservation laboratory in Special Collections is equipped to provide state of the art care for our paper based collections and give student assistants the opportunity to participate in preservation and conservation activities.

What's Special About Special Collections

Students learn from staff about the art of book conservation
Two students hands are turning books and touching papers

This video showcases the work of Linnea Goebbel, Class of 2013, our first conservation student assistant. Since 2013, over twenty Gettysburg College students have been trained in paper and book conservation by Mary Wootton, our Special Collections Conservator.

Conservation Process

Paper Repair

View photos on Flickr

Student employees and interns assist in protective rehousing of collection items, such as encapsulation of posters, maps, or other oversized items, or in constructing custom boxes for fragile items or books. They have the opportunity to perform hands-on treatments, such as humidifying and flattening documents using our suction table, or performing repairs on books with deteriorated or damaged text blocks or bindings. These repairs may involve washing, deacidifying, and/or mending book pages, toning paper or cloth to match original book papers or covers, and resewing text blocks. Our Kensol hot-stamping press provides students with the opportunity to set type and stamp title information on books that required new covers or on labels for rare book boxes. They also work on stacks maintenance projects, such as cleaning books and shelves in our Collections room.

Conservation Projects

Tyler BlackTyler Black, the 2016 Diane Werley Smith intern, is pictured here using the suction table to clean a document from the 18th century that was part of the Early American Document Collection. The project expanded into a study of watermarks and US papermakers. Tyler’s blog post Hidden Beneath: Watermarks in the Early American Document Collectionillustrates his discovery of watermarks and the layer of history that they reveal.

Lauren Bradford portraitIn the Fall 2016, Lauren Bradford, Student Assistant (Conservation) worked with Special Collections and College Archives Conservator, Mary Wootton, to humidify, flatten, and encapsulate over 150 World War II posters.

History of the Book and the Book as Artifact

As our book collections are increasingly appreciated as historical artifacts that reflect the esthetics and technology of their time, our students participate in providing descriptive information about our rare books that enhance our catalog records. Students are instructed in recognizing and recording historical or unique features of our books and bindings. By adding this information to the catalog record our faculty and other researchers are able to search books more easily for specific, historical or physical attributes.

The Beauty of the Book Digital Collection

Conservation and Preservation Funds

These funds support student assistants and interns in conservation, and assist in the purchase of conservation equipment and supplies.

Book Conservation Fund

Robert Franklin Holley Preservation Fund