{3.10.14} A Very Unusual Book Repair

I like to think I’ve worked on some unique books before, but certainly nothing like this one. A beautiful book from the mid-1800’s, “Gem of the Season” was filled with amazing illustrations and interesting poetry. There was even a stunning calligraphy inscription in the front of the book. The gilded covers were detached and needed to be repaired. This beautiful book was in need of some tender-loving-care to bring back it’s function and readability.

Once I began to take apart the spine of the book, I began to notice a big red flag. Glue, not thread, was caked onto the book’s spine. The first half of the book was held together with clumpy amounts of old glue. The second half of the book was sewn – the most secure and traditional method in which books are bound.

What separated the two halves of the book? Once I began to really look at the book, I noticed that the title page, table of contents, and list of illustrations and pages 1-60, were placed in the latter half of the book, while the beginning of the book contained pages 61-134. The experience of reading this book is so unusual, since it does not read in any logical fashion.

It was so unusual to find a book like this. Either the book originally was incorrectly bound (with glue), or at some point in time it was repaired – although there were no other signs of repair – and hacked together. It was a shame such a beautiful book was put together so sloppily!

Needless to say, I rebound the book (using thread!) with the pages in the correct order, added a red ribbon bookmark, and added a new leather spine. Not only is the book still beautiful, but it’s also now a functioning book – able to read in the correct page order!

Posted in Book Restorations

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