I find connections among books, art, music, libraries, travel, crafts and food.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Archives are cool

Archives are cool, right?

So here is the vault for Special Collections at Rolvaag Library, St. Olaf College. (BTW, that's Ole Edvart Rølvaag  author of Giants in the Earth, who roomed with my grandpa, Hjalmar S. Froiland, at St. Olaf in the 'aughts.)

What's not to love about really old beautiful books and compact library shelving where you get to turn the crank to move the shelves? But wait, there's more --

     Look at this beautifully carved book cradle. This (and other ones that are clear acrylic - useful but unattractive) are used for patrons wishing to look at books in the vault. The cradle helps protect the rare book from being opened too wide, and provides a convenient resting place for the book while it's being .read
Why are card catalogs still so appealing? 

I love them. 
They were made sturdy, useful, and of beautiful wood. I have a 36 drawer catalog myself, in which I keep craft supplies.

 Then there are these amazing calf or goat skin covered volumes well over 150 years old. I love looking at the pages of these because the paper is so surprisingly white and quite sturdy. Paper used to be made of cotton rag, which has longer fibers and lacks the acid content of 50 year old wood pulp paper.

  I like the mystery of the acid-free "boxes" in which the more deteriorated books are kept. I used to make these, when I worked in the Preservation lab at UW-Madison, for items to be kept in original bindings, preventing them from excessive deterioration.

  I also am fond of the cotton "tape" used to hold a book together. There are a couple of other "tapes" used in book repair that are non-adhesive: linen tape on which to sew signatures, and tape for headbands.

The calfskin was a good choice for covers because it retained its color and remained supple for centuries.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Vault

World Languages Bibles in the St. Olaf College Vault

     I'm thrilled to get to work a bit in the Library Special Collections at St. Olaf College, my alma mater (where I was a Latin major, can you tell?)  Above you see just a few pretty tomes in Norwegian and Africaans. 
     The collection of World Languages Bibles in the St. Olaf College Vault contains 248 full or partial Bibles in many languages, some of which no longer exist (such as Old English). There are Bibles in many Native American languages including Ojibwa, Arawak, and Micmac.
     My goal is to find out and tell the story of how the collection came together. My next step is to get my hands on the book

The Norlie collection of English Bibles / by Olaf Morgan Norlie

because a large number of these Bibles were donated by, and have bookplates designating, O. M. Norlie. So, apparently, Olaf wrote a book about his collection. 
     I'll keep you posted on what I find out.