Flipping Through Pages of History: Restoring a Family Heirloom

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This Bible first entered our client's family in 1889, and had been passed down to her through her mother's side of the family, who had emigrated from Ireland to Philadelphia. Though she and her mother hadn’t used the Bible in quite some time, it was a treasured family heirloom that our client was eager to see repaired. She entrusted Bill Paulson, owner of the Apple Frame Studio in Mundelein, Illinois, to see to that the Bible be restored to its former condition. Bill, who has frequently worked with The Center on behalf of his clients, knew this was a job for our conservators.

"I have entrusted my customers' treasured objects to the very capable conservators at The Conservation Center, knowing they will do the best job possible, in turn making me look good in the eyes of my customers," Paulson explained.

The Bible came to us well-worn and falling apart in many places. It exhibited a sculpted leather binding with two functioning fore-edge clasps. The leather was dry, and the raised areas were worn. Over time, age and use had caused the front cover and spine to detach, and the rear cover was still loosely attached to the text-block. There were many loose sheets and notes interleaved with the original family record pages, which were located between the book's Old and New Testaments. These pages detailed our client's family genealogy, and added to the owner's sentimental value of the piece. This, in turn, made us even more eager to see it restored to its former condition so it could continue to record the family lineage.

 Before Treatment (Detached spine and front cover)

Before Treatment (Detached spine and front cover)

 Before Treatment

Before Treatment

Our Book Conservator began her treatment by repairing the tears with Asian tissue and paste. The spine was then reinforced with new hinging material and several paper linings. Next, the shoulders of the text-block were sewn to reinforce the hinges. The original paste-downs were removed and new end-sheets were added. Next, the original leather on the covers and spine was carefully dyed and refurbished. The original spine was then mounted onto a new spine. Lastly, the loose sheets and notes were placed carefully inside the textblock. 

 Before Treatment

Before Treatment

 
 After Treatment

After Treatment

"The Bible is beautiful after restoration. I am most appreciative of The Conservation Center!" shared our client.

With the Bible restored, our client can now begin the extensive task of bringing the family genealogy up-to-date, so that this prized heirloom can continue to serve as a record for her family's legacy for years to come.

 After Treatment

After Treatment

 After Treatment

After Treatment

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