JAMES REID-CUNNINGHAM
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Conservation rebinding of: John Eliot, Mamusse Wunneetupanatamwe Up Biblum God, Samuel Green and Marmaduke Johnson, Cambridge MA, 1663

The binding is not contemporary with the printing. Documentary evidence from an auction catalog reveals that it once had a “memorandum” stating “Rebound by Joseph Peck Son of Cyrial Peck, Seekonk.”

The spine is covered in pressure sensitive tape onto the boards. The spine is badly damaged from the tape and a part of the lettering piece is missing. It is titled “Biblum” in gold. The lower board is original to this binding as is the spine. The front board is a replacement board taken from a different binding and cut to fit this volume. It is held in place solely by the tape. Because of the missing sections at the front, the spine is very flat and there is no backing at the front. There is faded ink writing on the front pastedown; the writing is upside down. The leather is very worn and degraded, with flaking of the surface.

There are many places where multiple leaves were tipped one to the other, especially at the front and back. The volume is sewn on 3 sawn-in cords, with two sets of unused holes, possibly from an earlier binding. The sewing is overall intact but is broken in two places. The spine is very flat, with no round and minimal backing. The edges are trimmed and colored yellow; the trimming is uneven. The edge-trimming is too deep in places, resulting in some trimming of the text. There are stuck-on cloth headbands.

The paper is darkened laid paper in overall stable condition but for browning and loss of sizing. The front flyleaf is missing. The rear flyleaf is wove paper. There are approximately 20 leaves requiring paper conservation. There are many missing leaves at both front and back. The library intends to exhibit the volume in 2021, open to the New Testament title page which has major tears and losses.

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Conservation treatment:

The client requested that the textblock be stabilized and the volume rebound in a period-appropriate binding.

The volume was collated only as required for the rebinding. The existing spine, boards, and flyleaves were removed. They were returned to the library. Surface dirt was removed from the leaves and edges using an absorene sponge. The spine was poulticed with 4% methyl cellulose to remove remnants of leather and adhesive.

The damaged leaves were mended using kozo paper and wheat starch paste. There are new flyleaves made from Barcham Green Dover laid handmade paper. The broken sections and new flyleaves were sewn together with 18/3 linen thread using a link stitch. The spine was lined with kozo paper using wheat starch paste. New front bead headbands were sewn with silk thread over cores of 4-ply linen cord at the head and tail.

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Cambridge MA 02140 USA 617-304-2652 james@reid-cunningham.com