Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A memorable Guild of Book Workers tour

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of delivering this repaired Family Bible to my friend Cathy, who volunteers at the Visitors Center in Gettysburg. The delivery was in the context of a day-long Guild of Book Workers excursion that included a behind-the-scenes tour of the Cyclorama. The tour was hosted by Chris Ameduri, Assistant Archivist of Special Collections at Gettysburg College, and Mary Wootton, a bookbinder and conservator who worked on the 5-year, $16 million restoration of the Cyclorama. Mary, a former Library of Congress conservator, had also restored the Lincoln Bible that President Obama used to take the oath of office.

The day had several highlights, including our visit to the home and studio of Sheila Waters, a renowned calligrapher who collaborated on beautiful bookbindings with her husband Peter Waters. Books of artistry and beauty were generously brought out for us to examine and enjoy. We sat at a long dining table, marveling at the fine work and that we could handle them and ask questions about their creation.
The group consisted of conservators from the Library of Congress, the National Archives, the Maryland State Archives, and University of Maryland. I enjoyed learning from them throughout the day.

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