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Gallery: Conservation

Volume containing Mémoire sur l'ipéca: lu a l'Académie Nationale de Médecine (Memoir on Ipecac: Read at the National Academy of Medicine), Joseph Delioux, 1851

Like the others given by Claude Bernard, this book required repairs. “Reback” is a conservation term that means “repairing or replacing the materials on a book’s spine.” The results of a well-done reback, like what was completed on the Claude Bernard collection, are aesthetically pleasing, retain the book’s history, and strengthen its structure.

Conservators often play the role of surgeon for old books in disrepair. Just like with any patient, the best course of action is determined on a case-by-case basis and decisions are made in consultation with people who curate book collections. Several of the books highlighted in this exhibition needed spine ‘surgery’ to function correctly. Overall, this type of spine surgery is one that is rewarding to perform!

—Senior Conservator