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Ribbon gismo



Most of the 18th and 19th century books I've had to repair or restore have
had ragged ribbon bookmarks (signets or whatever name they go by); most
also had broken backs at the site of the marker and stains left by the
acidity in the ribbon. The ribbons are not sewn into the bindings but
pasted or glued to the center of the spine, usually between the back and
the headband. They usually are found deep between the pages where they
exert more strain on the binding. Large bibles usually had two ribbons, one
for the Old Testament and one for the New. Backs of these would be broken
in two places.

I have wondered whether or not these ribbon bookmarks might have
contributed to the broken spine because of the strain to which the binding
is subjected over the years, and have debated whether they should be
omitted entirely or replaced with a new synthetic ribbon in restoring the
book. It would seem that a thin marker of acid-free paper would be better.

In Jean Gunner's SIMPLE REPAIR AND PRESERVATION TECHNIQUES that I just
received from the Hunt Institute, she writes, "A binding is tailor-made to
fit the thickness of the text block, and jamming inserts into the spine
edge can break adhesives, spine linings and sewing, and permanently
misshape the book. Inserts placed instead toward the fore-edge would stay
there if the book is handled carefully.

Does anyone have thoughts on this?

Betty
Betty Storz   storz@mcn.org


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