Photo Documentation

Front cover: before treatment
Back cover: before treatment
Spine: before treatment
Endleaves: before treatment
Fold-over page: before treatment
Opening characteristic: before treatment
Back cover: after treatment
Back cover: after treatment
Spine: after treatment
Endleaves: after treatment
Fold-over page: after treatment
Opening characteristic: after treatment

Treatment Record Documentation

Conservator: Xiaoping Cai

Date of Examination:  12/15/2016

Date of Completion:  01/03/2017

Title:  Jefferson Sowerby 2290-2320 Pamphlet 

Date: 1784 to 1788

Owner: Rare Book and Special Collection Division, Library of Congress

Call Number: AC901 P3 vol.33

Background Information:


This volume is part of the Jefferson collection. There are thirty-one pamphlets of varying formats bound together for Jefferson in one volume. The dates of these pamphlet are from 1784 to 1788, cover the period during which Jefferson was in France as Minister Plenipotentiary. Some of the Arrêts were purchased from Froullé and appear on his bills.


This pamphlet does not have Jefferson manuscript "T" or "J" in the signature marks. However, there is a piece of green ribbon indicating that it is Jefferson's copy.  The front pastedown has two LC bookplate. A note written in pencil is on the recto of the front flyleaf.  On the back pastedown, a note in pencil written that " Sowerby 2290-2320, AC90.P3 Vol.33, copy 1 RBSCD" There are also some other notes in pencil illustrating a series of number, which probably are the ISBM of each pamphlet. 



Binding: This volume has a full leather binding with a tight back. It is covered with reddish brown sheepskin and some pattern of dark color dots can be seen on the right board. The spine has been divided into seven panels with gold tooling of doubled lines. There are LC ownership marks in the top panel (eagle in gold) and sixth panel from the top (oval Library of Congress stamp in gold). There are remains of a paper label on the top panel, just below the eagle, though it is no longer visible. On the second panel, there is a stamped title in gold, on a piece of red morocco label lettered "PAMPHLETS “on the second panel.

Volume appears to be sewn on four recessed cords though its sewing pattern is difficult to tell. The sewing thread seems to be flax cord and it is quite thick. No endband can be seen from the current condition. Each endpaper section consists of three visible components. There are two flyleaves, which are tipped on and made from poor quality machine made paper. There are two layers of same machine made paper pasted onto the board as paste down. It is unclear that whether the one underneath is in a full size or not. The edges of the text block are trimmed and colored with yellow pigment.

Text-block:  There are 31 pamphlets in this volume. Each pamphlet has slightly different paper and in different size. Pamphlet #2 and #14 have the paper bigger than the overall size of the text block, thus part of the paper at the bottom is folded over. Pamphlet #13 has quarto size.  Most of the text is printed on an off-white handmade laid paper. But the color of the paper from pamphlet #15and #23 is light blue. And also in pamphlet #2 there are two leaves are written with iron gall ink.



Binding: The binding is in poor condition overall. The left board is totally detached and the sewing supports are broken at the joint area. While the right board is still attached, the joint is cracking all along and breaks at the bottom. The spine has a long break along it and also there are a few small losses on the spine leather. The endcaps at both the head and tail are missing. The tooling on the spine are abraded and the pattern is not complete. The leather is very acidic and delaminated at many areas.  The boards are slightly abraded and the corners of the boards are rounded and exposed.  The major part of the sewing appears to be stable, but the first two pamphlets are splitting from the text-block. The endpaper sections are all break into single leaves and the edges are very brittle and brown, due to the acidity comes from the leather turn-in.

Text-block:  The text block is in fair condition overall. There are some tidelines throughout but not consistent, which might be damaged by water before the pamphlets were bound together. Most of the paper are in good condition, but the folio 17 has its folded part detached.    



1. The spine will be lined with a solvent-set tissue and lifted off the book mechanically and stored. If possible, thin down the spine leather and reattach back to the new spine.



1. Consolidate the deteriorated areas of leather with Klucel G in ethanol.

2. Consolidate the delaminated board corners.  Fill losses at the board corners with toned Japanese paper.

3. Mechanically lift the leather on the spine edge of the boards.

4. Lift the pastedowns at the spine edge for the insertion of the new spine lining flange.



1. Sewing supports will be reinforced will linen thread attached on top of them and secured will thread goes around.

2. The splitting sections of pamphlet #1, #2 and #3 will be reattached to the textblock.



1. The brittleness and small losses on the endsheet will be repaired with Japanese tissue.

2. The losses on the folds of the endsheets will be repaired with Japanese tissue and  the endsheet will be hinged back to the spine with Japanese tissue.



1. The adhesive residue on the spine will be cleaned with Methylcellulose poultice.

2. The spine of the textblock will be lined with Japanese paper.

2. An airplane cotton spine lining will be placed on top of the Japanese lining paper. The lining will extend past the shoulders and the flange will be used for board attachment.

3. Endbands will be sewn off the book and adhered to the spine. The colour of the thread will match the overall binding as closely as possible.



1. New spine leather will be prepared. The colour of the leather will be adjusted with aniline dyes./ BASF leather dyes.

2. The book will be re-backed with pared goat leather.

3. Adhere the cotton flange to the inside of the boards under the lifted pastedowns.

4. Readhere the lifted pastedowns.

5. Repair the breaks to the folds of the endsheet with Japanese paper.


Risks of treatment:

The original covering material is poor quality sheep skin leather, which is delaminating and suffering from red-rot. Although the leather will be consolidated with klucel-G, it is likely the leather fiber will continue to breakdown easily. Also, it will be darken easily when exposed to humidity.  It is possible that the adhesive used to re-adhere the leather will cause it to darken.


Justification for treatment:

This book from the Rare Book and Special Collections Division is part of the Jefferson’s library. And there is a piece of green ribbon indicating that it is from the original Jefferson collection, survivors of fire and time. The risks posed to the book by treatment can be mitigated through careful work. Additionally, the Jefferson’s library has been reconstructed and the books are exhibited at the Thomas Jefferson Building. So the risk to the book from having detached boards is also significant.



1. Consolidated the leather covering with 2% Klucel G in ethanol, applied by brush.

2.  Faced the original leather spine with three separate strips of RK-1 tissue pre-coated with acrylic resin adhesive (1:1:3 Avanse MV-100: Plextol B500: Deionized Water). The adhesive was reactivated with ethanol and the tissue was applied to the spine with a stiff brush.

3. After the pre-coated tissue was dry, removed the spine mechanically with a lifting knife.

4. The faced leather spine was kept aside and stored in between a Mylar sleeve.



1. Rebuilt the worn away board corners with linen cord fibre and wheat starch paste (Aytex P precipitated wheat starch paste).

Note: A small spatula was used to insert the mixture of cord fibre and paste, and the shape of the corners were molded. Small pieces of polyester film were used to protect the leather from darkening.

2. Acrylic-toned kozo paper (#1602) is used to cover the missing leather on the board corners with a mixture of Lascaux 498HV and PVAc. Slightly lifted the original board leather to allow for the insertion of new material.

3. Applied a strip of RK-1 tissue (the same height as the boards and 1" wide), which was coated with 5% Klucel G, onto the spine edges of the boards. Then the leather along the spine edge of the boards were lifted mechanically with a lifting knife.

4. Lifted the pastedowns mechanically at the board edge.



1. Remove the adhesive residue and lining, which still attached to the back of the spine of the textblock, with a series of 5% methyl cellulose poultice(Bookmakers).

2. A 4% of Gellum gum strip were applied on top of the stuck edge of pamphlet #3’s detached leaves. Two pieces of blotter was placed next to the strip to prevent the tideline. After 10 minutes, the Gellum gum strip was removed and the stuck edges were separated by using a spatula.   

3. Attached the two single leaves of pamphlet #3 back to the textblock, by using Japanese paper (RK 1) hinges and wheat starch paste.

4. Mend the tears in the pamphlet #2 with Japanese paper (RK 1) and wheat starch paste.

5. Removed the oversewing thread on pamphlet #2. Guarded the single sheets into bifolios.

6. Reinforced the sewing supports with four strands of linen thread twisted together, and secured to the original sewing supports with stitches of linen thread.

7. Attached the pamphlet #1 and #2 back to the text block by commencing link stitch sewing on the new supports.

Note: The ends of the braids were left long so that they could be frayed out later and attached onto the boards to reinforce the boards attachment.



1. Repaired the losses in the front endleaf with kozo paper (K-27 Tengujo’02 from paper Nao, 15g/m2) and wheat starch paste. The kozo paper was toned with acrylics (Golden Fluid Acrylics) and airbrush.

2. Mended the brittle edges of the endsheets with RK1 (from paper nao, 5g/m2) and wheat starch paste. The kozo paper was toned with acrylics (Golden Fluid Acrylics) and airbrush.

3. Attach the two flyleaves to the text block, by using Japanese paper (RK 1) hinges and wheat starch paste.



1. Lined the spine with kozo paper (Senkashi)and wheat starch paste.

2. Adhered an overhanging aerocotton lining to the spine with wheat starch paste.

3. New endbands were sewn off the spine on a core of hemp cord stiffened with PVAc wrapped with aerocotton. Endbands were sewn using buttonhole silk thread with a single bead on the front.

Note: There was no headband residue left. But for a book without headbands, the headcaps will be damaged very easily. In order to provide some protection for the endcaps, and reduce the intervention to the text block. Sewn off the spine endbands were made and attached back to the spine.

4. The endbands were adhered to the spine with wheat starch paste.

5. The spine was lined with western handmade paper (Griffen Mill Early Wove Cream) and wheat starch paste. The lining was shoulder to shoulder and head to tail. After the lining was fully dry, the lining was sanded with a piece of sandpaper to improve the smoothness of the spine.



1. New goat leather (Fair goat leather from J Hewit & Sons Ltd, which is undyed and has sheep-like grain pattern) was dyed with BASF leather dyes (red, yellow and brown colors were used) dilute with ethanol. The leather was pared with a spoke shave and a paring knife.

2. Attach the new leather to the spine of the text block and under the lifted board leather with wheat starch paste. The endcaps were formed and tied up with a thick sewing thread.

3. The original, lifted board leather was re-adhered with the mixture of Lascaux 498 HV and PVAc.

4. Adhered the linen flanges of the spine lining to the inside of the boards under the lifted pastedown with wheat starch paste.

5. Re-adhered the lifted pastedowns with the mixture of PVAc and wheat starch paste.

6. Covered the gap in the inner hinges with Japanese paper (Senkashi light) and wheat starch paste.

Note: Cover the inner joint area with 2 layers of toned Senkashi light. One layer is still transparent.

7. Applied a thin layer of SC6000 onto the toned paper infills on the boards to provide a light sheen more closely to the appearance of the original leather.

8. New leather label was made. Gold tooling title and lines will be recreated on the spine