Monday, July 17, 2017

The Lord's Prayer in 500 Languages



Closeup of one of the multi-alphabet pages. Contemporary reviews called the book a masterpiece of the typographer’s art.

An amazing book will leap off the shelf at me no matter how drab the binding. In fact, I look for temporary and homemade bindings because that’s how the treasures are disguised. While shelving in the Religion section at Wonder Book last month, I happened upon a worn and broken cover from an office-supply store that held browning photocopies of “The Lord’s Prayer in 500 Languages.” The book, printed in 1905, contains myriad languages and alphabets, faithfully reproduced. Immediately I knew it would become a wedding gift to a newly-married couple who will be translating the Scriptures into languages that don't yet have written alphabets. I downloaded the missing title page, prologue, and Table of Contents from Google’s digital archive. After recopying the pages onto better paper and trimming them, I bound them with Indian marble paper and a leather spine. The gift is now in the hands of newlyweds who love it and will make good use of it.

Browned photocopies, beat-up old binder--just what I like. Possibilities abound.


The box protects and complements the binding.

Leftover bits and pieces enhance the box cover.


Initial concept: new paper, deciding the trim size.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Stone Face and Mr. Moosie

Sometimes when I work on a complicated project, I lose my sense of humor. I'm too caught up in the acidic paper and red-rotted leather of a thousand-detail repair. So I keep my bookbinding workshop elves nearby. They remind me not to take myself too seriously.
My sister-in-law is an artist. She "found" this happy guy in the stone.

While working on dilapidated Family Bibles, I can feel like Mr. Moosie.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Connecting Peninsulas Update

Today I received a check from Michigan State University (Libraries) for "Connecting Peninsulas." I did the project for love of Michigan, the Mighty Mac, and bookbinding. Now it's found a good home in MSU's Special Collections. I could not be happier about that!

ABOVE BELOW: Tales and Folklore of the Fabulous Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Hardcover – 1952 by Curt. G. Knoblock.

MIRACLE BRIDGE AT MACKINAC. 1957 by David B. Steinman and John T. Nevill. Jack is profiled in MSU’s Ink Trails II: Michigan's Famous and Forgotten Authors.

PENINSULA: Essays and Memoirs from Michigan / Edited by Michael Steinberg - 03/31/2000  Publisher: Michigan State University Press.


Photos, Letter, Brochure:
The cars are driving on the ice near our home. The photo was taken by my father, Woodrow Jarvis, a freelance photographer and writer whose work depicts life in the Upper Peninsula during the mid-twentieth century.
   My dad took the photo of my brother, Mark Jarvis, on or near Opening Day for the Mackinac Bridge. Dad took photos and did publicity for the bridge. The 1958 letter is from my grandmother, Alma Jarvis, referring to the “new” Mackinac Bridge.
  “CONNECTING PENINSULAS”

I’m a Yooper* born and raised. I grew up on the St. Mary’s River, five miles from DeTour Village in the eastern Upper Peninsula. Two of the three books come from my parents’ bookshelves and friendships. Curt Knoblock, author of Above Below, was the first superintendent of the Drummond Dolomite mine on Drummond Island. The quarry provided employment for many (most?) of the men of my hometown, across the channel. Knoblock’s tall tales capture life in the Upper Peninsula in the mid-twentieth century.
    Dr. David Steinman’s Miracle Bridge at Mackinac conveys his thrill that the bridge he engineered overcame all obstacles and was built. The coauthor, Jack Nevill, was a family friend and neighbor in Spring Bay. Jack died in a fire at his home just before this book was published. His widow, Peggy, was like a grandma to me as I was growing up.
   Above Below and Miracle Bridge at Mackinac keep their original dustjackets, washed and repaired. The overlaid dust jacket for Above Below features “Starry Night” and “Snow” Cave Papers. For Miracle Bridge I trimmed and folded a 2007 Mackinac Bridge poster.
      Peninsula[s] uses birchbark covers with the title Coptic-stitched on the spine. Signatures were remade with Moriki guards and the original cover bound in.
     The multi-section slipcase is made from Cave Paper “Layered Indigo,” which reminds me of deep, mysterious water. The container places Miracle Bridge in the middle section that connects Above Below and Peninsula.
    Only as I was preparing this exhibit entry did I make the connection that Yoopers also live under a bridge. The International Bridge brochure was written and edited by my father, Woodrow Jarvis. So, I abandoned my first theme of Yoopers vs. Trolls because Yoopers are Trolls too.
   *(Yoopers=U.P.'ers=people who live in or are from Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Trolls=those folks who live "under the bridge".)

   


Saturday, May 13, 2017

Betty Crocker Cookbook

It's a good thing my tetanus shot is up to date. This rusted Betty Crocker Cookbook's ring binder from the 1940s had 5 rings, instead of today's standard 3 rings. So buying a replacement mechanism wasn't an option. The spine, also metal, was thoroughly rusted as well. The client didn't want me to remove all the filament tape from the covers because she preferred the book to look much as it was when her mother was using it.
Things got messy for a while.

Some of the filament tape had to go.

I think I achieved a lasting, appropriate repair that didn't change the character of the book.

After rust removal, black bookcloth tape protects the metal spine.

Metal mechanism after rust removal.

Spine before treatment.

Friday, February 24, 2017

An Ageless Lock of Hair

I accept and appreciate my gray hair, which proves useful when trying to stuff an overloaded carryon into a plane's luggage rack. (Thank you, helpful young guys!) Yet when hair is clipped, it doesn't change color, I have discovered from locks of hair in Bibles. Once I found a curl of blond hair in a folded tissue, labeled: "Billy Boy Hairs July 19, 1926." Here it was, still little-boy blond 90 years later. Usually, however, the clippings are pressed without any information, such as this mysterious one. I am guessing it belonged to a woman, but I'll never know. Who stored it, and why? A husband, a lover? A bereaved mother? It's in Revelation--is that significant? Mysteries lost to time and distance.

My first reaction when I saw this was, "Ewww." But it does lead to questions that might make a good story. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Just in Time for Christmas

Call me crazy but I really enjoy fixing study Bibles. This one had lost several front pages, including the title page. Other front pages were--well, as you can see. The paper had swelled over the years and burst the spine. Cover repair was not an option. The client was very happy.


I've ironed pages more often than any article of clothing.



The front pages of this Bible were available online as a PDF. I downloaded and printed them, joined the spine edges with repair tissue, and sewed them in.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Just in time for Thanksgiving

This morning I put the final touches on the 1912 Bird Guide repair and box. Sewing on tapes would have looked too bulky with the soft covers, and the book would not have opened flat. I used a Coptic stitch so the pages would lie flat, then cased in the text block as usual. The owners picked it up a little while ago. It had belonged to their grandmother, who had used it for many years. They are excited to show it to family gathered this Thanksgiving weekend. I told them it would be good for the next hundred years.