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A question



Dear Bibliophiles:
        I ask the following in humilty and ignorance and ask if anyone
can provide an answer:

        On a dust-jacket:  the reverse side (which comes in contact with the
case of the book) is "pock" marked with yellowish-brownish spots, something
I think would be called "foxing."  Also yellowing along the creases.  Its
the pock-marks that worry me though, as some are artually little pustules
that rise ever so slightly above the surface.  The pustules are dry in
themselves, but I am wondering if these aren't a spore of mold or some
other nefarious nasty out to ruin paper.  I undertook the following and
I hope someone will comment about the technique (as if it might be useful
or useless)  First I dampened a clean rag with 91% alcohol, and I began to
wipe the entire surface (all white, no printing) -- 91% is nice in that
it doesn't saturate the paper but it does cleanse, I know this because as
I was wiping, the rag was becoming darkened with the grit the alcohol was
loosening.  After the surface dryed I took a Dry-cleaning" pad and let some
grit fall on the surface, then I worked it around using a firm pressure and
covering the entire surface, not just the "in-" fected areas.

        Today's result (after 12 hours) show that much of the yellow is
gone, and even the ugly spots have lost their color but remain. I am
wondering if I haven't in fact successfully cleaned an aging dust-jacket
or if I've actually killed a mold spore attacking it.  Can anyone help?
Is the foxing and yellowing of dust-jackets be something that I should
concern myself?  Can the nasty-ness of the dust-jacket transfer over to the
case in time?  And if mold and mildew migrate wouldn't it be prudent to
treat the dust-jackets before the case itself gets infected?

        To be honest I don't know but my real question is this, should I
worry about it, should I take steps to slow the decay, and is the method
described above sufficient, or am I just providing a nominal treatment?

        Thanks for reading this and for taking the time to consider a
response.   It really bugs me to clean a book only to restore a "dirty"
dust-jacket once its finished.  Any help/advise would be welcome.

        Happy holidays and Happy New Year!

                Rommel John Miller
                (The wannabe binder and conservator)


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