As we welcome the coming of Fall, we here in the Library at the House of the Temple turn our attention to book preservation. As we assess our collections to determine what books are in most need of help, we often come across forgotten treasures.
While going through the Libraryâ€™s special collection, I made a great find â€” signed copies of Carl H. Claudyâ€™s three volume set, Introduction to Freemasonry.
Carl Harry Claudy (January 13, 1879 to May 27, 1957), was considered by his brethren as â€œMr. Mason.â€ He was the author of many books on Masonry and a large number of short stories, bulletins and articles on symbolism, history, laws and customs of our Ancient Craft.
Brother Claudy was elected to the Grand Lodge line on December 27, 1934, and after serving in several offices, was elected Grand Master of Washington, DC, on December 2, 1942. He served Masonry just short of 50 years. â€œDespite all his honors, Brother Claudy never lost the common touch with his Brethren of the District of Columbia, and his door was always open to Masters, junior officers or brethren anxious for Masonic light. He was always as ready to give as they were ready to receive Masonic instruction.â€ The Grand Lodge, F.A.A.M, of the District of Columbia, Memorial to Carl H. Claudy, 1957.
A Special Thank You
The 2015 Biennial Session of the Supreme Council has come and gone. Scottish Rite Masons from all over the world participated in festivities celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Grand Opening and Dedication of the House of the Temple.
A fond moment from the Biennial Session stands out in my mind. I was at my desk when a gentleman came up, sat down, and asked me, â€œI have had two books reviewed in The Scottish Rite Journal and I was wondering if you had them here in the Library.â€ I replied, â€œSorry, but we do not.â€ He then handed me his credit card and said, â€œHere, go to Amazon and order those books for the library.â€ So I purchased his books: A Yellowstone Savage from Fishing Bridge and Coal Minerâ€™s Jukebox.This kind and very much appreciated gesture came from author James O. Wolf, 32Â° KCCH, Orient of Nebraska. The next day I ran into Mr. Wolf again and I received some more exciting news. Every month, I will pick out a book that is reviewed in The Scottish Rite Journal and he will purchase it for the House of the Temple's Library. Thank you, Mr. Wolf!
Unfortunately our Library is not able to purchase all the books that are reviewed in the Scottish Rite Journal. But with Mr. Wolfâ€™s help, we will strive to enhance our Library to be one of the most outstanding Masonic libraries in the world.
If you would like to donate a book that was reviewed in The Scottish Rite Journal, please contact me at email@example.com.
Preserve My Books
The Supreme Council Library holds more than two hundred thousand volumes. These volumes contain information about every aspect of Freemasonry. Taking the proper preservation measures to these volumes is essential so that future researchers can benefit from our collection.
Below are some tips for proper temperatures, storage and handling of these materials. The information below is taken from the Library of Congress website at: www.loc.gov/preservation.
Proper Care and Handling of Books
Taking care when handling any collection item, especially functional items like books with flexing parts, is one of the more effective, cost-efficient, and easily achieved preservation measures.
Take proper care when handling books by:
- Having clean hands and a clean area to use the book
- Keeping food and drink away
- Removing the book from the shelf by gripping on both sides of the spine at the middle of the book (push in the neighboring book on both sides to get a good grip), instead of tugging at the top of the spine
- Not forcing a book to lie open to 180 degrees; instead, prop up the covers of an opened book to decrease the opening angle
- Not using paper clips, "dog ear" folding, or acidic inserts to bookmark pages
- Not using rubber bands, self-adhesive tape, any kind of "leather dressing," and/or glue on books
Proper Storage of Books
Good storage significantly prolongs the life and usability of books and includes:
- A cool (room temperature or below), relatively dry (about 35% relative humidity), clean, and stable environment (avoid attics, basements, and other locations with high risk of leaks and environmental extremes)
- Minimal exposure to all kinds of light; no exposure to direct or intense light
- Distance from radiators and vents
- Regular dusting and housekeeping
- Shelving books of similar size together, so that the face of the covers are maximally supported by the neighbors on each side
- Keeping upright shelved books straight and not leaning (storing books lying flat is also good)
Dealing with Condition Problems
Beyond the measures outlined above, there are two main options for books with condition problems:
- Protect the book further with a box or other enclosure
- Conservation treatment by a book conservator
Frequently asked questions
How do I get rid of bookworms and bookbugs?
- Kill insects by freezing. Before freezing, keep book at room temperature with a relative humidity between 40-60% for a few days. Then place book in a Ziploc bag, evacuate as much air as possible, seal, and place flat on a clean, empty freezer shelf (regular household kitchen freezers can reach -20 degrees C, which is adequately cold, but turn off frost-free feature). After a few days, remove bag from freezer, leave sealed (but remove book if ice crystals have formed inside the bag), and allow to reach room temperature. Monitor regularly for bug activity. Repeated cycles of freezing can kill hearty bugs.
- One of the best ways to avoid pests in the future is good housekeeping and maintaining appropriate temperature and relative humidity where collections are stored.
Are wood bookshelves okay to use?
- When purchasing new shelving, metal shelves are preferable over wood shelves because the acids present in wood can migrate into paper and books and cause deterioration.
- Existing wood shelves that cannot be replaced can be lined with a barrier such as polyester film, corrugated polyethylene or polypropylene board, metal foil laminate, acrylic sheet, or glass, to prevent books from coming into direct contact with the wood.
How do I find a conservator?
- Two main options for obtaining conservation services are with a conservator in private practice or at a regional conservation center. The website of the American Institute for Conservation (AIC), www.conservation-us.org, features information on How to Choose a Conservator and How to Find a Conservator by region, specialty, type of service, etc.
- The Regional Alliance for Preservation at www.rap-arcc.org, maintains a list of U.S. regional conservation centers by geographic area.
How can I find out how much my book is worth?
- The Supreme Council does not appraise books. If I need to find out how much a book is worth my first search would be Bookfinder.com. The Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America at www.abaa.org, also has information on collecting, appraising, and selling as well as a directory of booksellers and appraisers.
Where do I purchase the supplies needed for preservation?
- Call Gaylord Archival and request a catalog at 1-800-448-6160 or go to www.gaylord.com.
If you ever need help in your preservation needs, I am here to assist you. You can contact me by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Help Save a Book . . . Before itâ€™s Too Late
By Robert Heffelfinger, 32Â°
Books are a benchmark of advancement of a civilization. The Scottish Rite prides itself on having a grand library of early texts that go back to the first days of printing. However, the responsibility of maintenance can be a burdensome effort. Did you know that every year thousands of books are mishandled or abused in libraries? All too often, they are left alone on the shelf to collect dust, and disintegrate, as they suffer alone and terrified, waiting for someone to help. The House of the Temple's Library is not such a library! Our books are treasured and we try to give them the care they deserve, but we need your help.
Shelved books are susceptible to the elements, and thus prone to damage. The most common causes of damaged books include fire, water, mold, and, of course, time. While all books are susceptible to damage from external elements, older books also fall victim to inherent sources of decay. Materials and chemicals used to make paper corrupt the integrity of old books over long periods of time. This is when the art of antique book restoration becomes invaluable.
Book adoption begins with a commitment to the books and the scholars we serve and extends beyond simple involvement in their lives to long-term dedication and perseverance. Book restoration is an investmentâ€”an investment of time for a lifetime.
This is why we started the House of the Temple Libraryâ€™s Adopt-A-Book Program. The Adopt-A-Book Program will directly benefit the Rebuilding the Temple Campaign, including the renovations to the House of the Temple and its Library and Collections, the buildingâ€™s infrastructure, and other improvements. You may sponsor a book in the library for only $250 (not including rare books). The Librarian will assign a book to you as the sponsor. You will receive a special letter from the Supreme Council Librarian, a certificate, a unique bookmark, and a special nameplate.
For a donation of just $250 dollars, you can do your part to help make sure that these precious books and manuscripts do not suffer the same fate, as so many have before. Your donation ensures that the House of the Temple Library has the necessary funds to restore these books so that generations to follow have the same opportunity to enjoy and learn from these treasures.
As of today we have made $28,700 dollars through the Adopt-A-Book program. Letâ€™s try and double that amount for 2016 and preserve our books!
If youâ€™re interested in sponsoring a particular book or for more information on sponsorship, please email: email@example.com or call 202-777-3111.