The Principles and Practice of Medicine

The Principles and Practice of Medicine
by William Osler, M.D., F.R.C.P
c.1897
Full case binding, hollow-back, blue buckram cloth with gold-foiled title on spine
Young J. Pentland, Edinburgh and London

This is one of the first modern general medical textbooks by a man named Osler. My client, himself a Doctor, asked me to repair it as it is a family heirloom, originally belonging to his great Uncle, who was also a prolific doctor of his time.

CONDITION

BINDING The volume had sustained substantial damage to the spine covering, which was adhered to the boards by pressure sensitive tape. The spine itself was misshapen and weakened due to inserted material. Both boards were detached and had ware to each of their corners

TEXTBLOCK Several pages throughout the book had been damaged through general use and the endpapers were loose. The back endpaper had written ephemera on its adjacent fly-leaf, which had been damaged along the foredge due to the page being loose.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION There was a substantial amount of inserted material, mostly newspaper articles associated with the relevant chapters within the book. These were causing the sewing along the spine to split. At the beginning of the volume were a selection of needles inserted into the contents page causing rust to the page.

TREATMENT

  • Tape was removed from the spine piece and boards using heat and a crepe eraser and the boards and spine piece were cleaned in preparation for repair.
  • The spine lining was removed and the weak sewing was reinforced using linen thread.
  • A new spine lining was attached and a false hollow created for the new spine.
  • The boards were reattached using a transverse lining in linen.
  • A new toned spine piece was created and attached to the boards.
  • The old spine with title was adhered onto the new spine.
  • The inserted material was removed with the locations recorded, and rehoused into a manila folder with a contents page showing the corresponding pages of the book.
  • The needles that were inserted into the volume were left in their original location to prevent substantial change to the personal input to the volume by the original owner, and they were consolidated to prevent further rusting onto the pages.

As an interesting extra, the original owner had kept several needles, skewering them onto one of the first pages, with dates – unfortunately neither myself nor my client were able to ascertain what they were from – personally I would assume the worst and imagine they were weapons of death, but that may be wayward imagination. My client informed me that these days all medical needles are curved, whereas these were straight.

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