Posts Tagged ‘Book restoration’

-Contributed by Nicole Dunlap.

While the CCHP (Cummings Center for the History of Psychology) library continues to grow with over 20,000 volumes from philosophy and mathematics to biographies and English literature, there remain a handful of particularly significant antiquarian books in need of repair. These tomes are significant not only because of their relevance to the history of psychology but also for their rarity and representation of earlier book printing and binding methods. Read on to learn more about the contents, condition, and curiosities of the books in the CCHP library:

We have noted what is interesting and unique about each book and what repairs are needed in the hope that these at-risk volumes can be restored to their former glory and will be available for study in the decades to come.

  1. Title: Erasmus Darwin (1794-1796). Zoonomia; or the laws of organic life. London: Printed for J. J. Johnson.


Description: This second edition of the two-volume classic work by Erasmus Darwin, grandfather of Charles Darwin, contains some of the earliest ideas on what would come to be known as evolutionary theory. Here, the elder Darwin speculates that all warm-blooded animals may have arisen from “one living filament.” The work also contains a catalog of diseases and treatments, as well as ideas regarding important topics such as habit, imitation, and mental development.

Physical Characteristics:

  • Volume I has 582 pages; Volume II has772 pages
  • Illuminated cover (etched in gold print)


  • Unique stamps throughout Volume I text that appear to be watercolor


  • Front and back covers are detached on Volume I


  • Front cover is detached on Volume II
  • Interesting inscription at the end of Volume II that reads: “The work is done!—Nor Folly’s active rage, Nor envy’s self, shall blot the golden page; Time shall admire, his mellowing touch employ, and mend the immortal tablet, not destroy.”


Treatment: Reattach front boards, reinforce back boards, consolidate corners of boards, clamshell boxes.

  1. Title: Pierre Bayle (1730). Dictionaire historique et critique, Avec la vie de l’auteur, par Mr. Des Maizeaux. Amsterdam: P. Brunel.

Description: This fourth edition of Bayle’s celebrated, four-volume biographical dictionary influenced the work of many important Enlightenment philosophers, including David Hume and George Berkeley. The dictionary includes lengthy discussions of everything from sorcery and Spinoza to vanity and virtue.

Treatment: Lift pastedowns and leather on boards, sew new thread through raised cords with extra on either end to lace through boards, lift spine leather alongside joint one section in to attach joint reinforcement paper, remove thickness from boards to accommodate joint paper and secure paper to both front and back of boards, reattach all lifted materials, attach toned Japanese paper to reinforce cover leather from outside. Endband/endcap choices: Rebuild endcaps and recreate endbands or reinforce and reattach existing endbands only. Clamshell box choices: regular clamshell or clamshell with built in cradle system.

  1. Title: Joseph. W. Haddock (1851). Somnolism and Psycheism, or, The science of the soul and the phenomena of nervation, as revealed by vital magnetism or mesmerism, considered physiologically and philosophically with notes of mesmeric and psychical experience. London: J. S. Hodson.

Description: This volume documents two early lectures on clairvoyance and spiritualism delivered by a well-known English physician, Joseph W. Haddock. The lectures outline Haddock’s experiences with his servant, Emma, who would frequently fall into trances accompanied by clairvoyance. Emma’s supposed abilities were used in attempts to catch local criminals as well as in the search for the lost crew of Sir John Franklin’s expedition to the Northwest Passage.

Physical Characteristics:

  • 232 pages
  • Illuminated cover


  • Front cover is detached


Treatment: Reduce adhesive on spine/covers to extent possible, rebuild and reattach case, mend fold out, reinforce inner joints, 4-flap enclosure.

  1. Title: Jean Belot (1640). Les Oeuvres de M. Jean Belot, curé de Mil-Monts, Professeur aux Sciences Divines & Celestes. Contenant la Chiromence, Physionomie, l’Art de Memoire de Raymond Lulle, Traicté des Divinations, Augures et Songes; les Sciences Steganographiques, Paulines, Arnadelles & Lullistes, l’Art de doctement Precher & Haranguer, &c. Rouen: Jacques Cailloué.


Description. This early work by French author Jean Belot serves as an example of early seventeenth pseudoscientific traditions including palmistry, physiognomy, and astrology.

Physical Characteristics:

  • 432 pages in the first text; 138 pages in the second text
  • Possible vellum (calfskin) binding
  • Binding is beginning to pull away from pages


  • Error in page numbering; the numbers go from 392 to 293 to 394


  • Text blotted out with ink on the title page


Treatment: Mend pages, reinforce inner joints, 4-flap enclosure.

  1. Title: Walkington, Thomas (ca. 1631). The optick glasse of humors, or, The touchstone of a golden temperature, or, The philosophers stone to make a golden temper : wherein the foure complections, sanguine, cholericke, phligmaticke, melancholicke are succinctly painted forth, and their externall intimates laid open to the purblind eye of ignorance itselfe, by which euery one may iudge of what complection he is, and answerably learne what is most sutable [sic] to his nature.       Oxford: Printed by W. T.

Description. Written by English clergyman Thomas Walkington, this slim volume is considered to be a forerunner of Burton’s famous Anatomy of Melancholy. Here, Walkington describes the four “complexions” or temperaments associated with the four humors: sanguine, choleric, melancholic, and phlegmatic. This rare undated edition is thought to have been printed around 1631.

Physical Characteristics:

  • 168 pages
  • Very small in size
  • Soft binding; possibly vellum.
  • Binding is pulling away from pages


  • Hole in back cover


  • Marginal notations throughout text


Treatment: Mend pages, 4-flap enclosure.

  1. Title: Bernard de Mandeville (1730). A treatise of the hypochondriack and hysterick diseases : In three dialogues. London: Printed for J. Tonson.


Description. In this volume, Mandeville, a Dutch physician, describes his struggle with melancholy. The work, written as three dialogues between a physician and a male patient, presents a unique look at eighteenth-century views on mental illness, male hysteria, and what would come to be known as the “talking cure.” Scholars view this volume as significant in initiating a number of eighteenth-century British works on nervous diseases.

Physical Characteristics:

  • 380 pages
  • Spine is eroding
  • Pages are falling out


  • Interesting illustration at end of text


Treatment: Full rebinding (not original covers) – remove existing covers and spine leather, remove existing sewing, mend pages, find replacement/insert blank sheet for missing page 81/82, guard and rebuild textblock, resew and rebind in calf skin, 4-flap enclosure.

  1. Title: Marshall Hall (1836). Lectures on the Nervous System and Its Diseases. Philadelphia: Carey & Hart.

Description. In this early work on physiology and clinical neurology, physiologist Marshall Hall introduced terms that would come to dominate psychology and physiology including “arc” and “reflex action”. The volume was published in both the United States and London in 1836; this is the first American edition.

Physical Characteristics:

  • 240 pages
  • Front and back covers are detached


  • Spine is eroding

Treatment: Remove spine and save if possible, clean and reline spine, build new spine piece (reattach original if possible), reattach covers, 4-flap enclosure.

  1. Title: George Cheyne (1734). The English malady, or, A treatise of nervous diseases of all kinds, as spleen, vapours, lowness of spirits, hypochondriacal, and hysterical distempers, &c. In three parts. London: Printed for G. Strahan and J. Leake at Bath.

Description. This popular eighteenth-century work by a Scottish physician outlines the author’s struggle with his own nervous illness. Here, Cheyne wrote of hypochondria and hysteria as diseases of the elite classes and the highly intelligent, resulting from a sensitive nervous system or delicate constitution. He made extensive recommendations about diet, exercise, and environment as a cure for such nervous illnesses. The work was first published in 1733 and went through six editions in 6 years. This rare volume is the fourth edition, published in 1734.

Physical Characteristics:

  • 370 pages
  • Front cover detached and back cover becoming detached


  • Stamp on inside front cover


  • Signature on first page


  • Handwritten name and date on pages 1 and 212; this could be possible evidence of provenance (information about previous owners)


Treatment: Reattach flyleaf, reinforce preferential opening in textblock, reattach front cover, reinforce back cover, 4-flap enclosure.

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-Contributed by Nicole Dunlap.

Incunabula. Vellum. Colophon. It may sound like I’m speaking another language, and although it is technically English, rare books kind of do have a language of their own. My duties here at the CHP are usually limited to processing and digitizing the apparatus collection. However, lately I decided to expand my horizons and dive into the world of old and rare books at the CHP. I had no idea of the vast amount of analysis and study that goes into this specialization, not to mention a whole set of vocabulary!


This month’s Book of the Month blog is going to be a little different. Usually someone here at the CHP takes some time to highlight one of the books we have in our collection. I’m going to highlight THREE books. But I’m not going to discuss content. We are going to explore some of the physical aspects of these books. I want to give you, and myself, a little taste of the kinds of things rare book librarians and collectors concern themselves with. You may be surprised. I sure was!

The books we are going to talk about are three very different works. One is in French, one in Latin, and one in English, and the publishing dates range from 1634 to 1842. I’m going to take some time to investigate each book a little further to show you the kinds of things specialists in this field look for.

Book #1:


Title: De Lacrymis Libri Tres (Roughly translates: Book Three of the Leading Physicians of Paris)

Language: Latin

Author: Pierre Petit (1617-1687)

Publisher: Parisiis, Apud Claudium Cramoisy, 1661

Physical Characteristics: 221 pages (but page 221 is wrongly numbered as 212)
-Possible vellum binding. Vellum is the skin of a calf used for book binding.


-Includes index in the front of the book with a list of chapters.
-Includes index in the back of the book that includes a list of vocabulary terms.
-Stamp at the end of the book that translates to “Thank you Jesus.”


-Illustration on the inside of the front cover.


-Illustration on cover page. Text translates to “I will sacrifice fat or lean offer.”

Book #2:


Title: Pantology; or, A Systematic Survey of Human Knowledge

Language: English

Author: Roswell Park

Publisher: Hogan & Thompson, Philadelphia, 1842


Printer: C. Sherman & Co.

Physical Characteristics: 540 pages
-Unique gold design on binding, front cover. Possible illumination. A book is illuminated when it is decorated by hand, often with gold, silver and colored inks.


-Includes bibliography and index.
-Stamp on inside of cover that says “H.H. Thompson” with date of June 30th, 1883. Often times, incunabula (books printed in the infancy of printing, typically before 1501) have what’s known as supralibros, which are heraldic motifs stamped on the outer surface of the binding in order to identify the owner.
-Includes many illustrations throughout text.


Book #3:


Title: Nouvelles Pensees Sur Les Causes de la Lumiere, du Debordement du Nil et de l’Amour d’Inclination (Roughly translates: New Thoughts on the Causes of Light, Overflow of the Nile, and the Love of Inclination). There is also a second text included titled: Nouvelles Coniectures sur la Digestion (Roughly translates: New Conjectures on Digestion).

Language: French

Author: Marin Cureau de la Chambre

Publisher: Pierre Rocolet, Paris, 1634

Physical Characteristics: 163 pages
-Rebound with colorful patterned binding.
-Marginal notes included throughout the text.


-Illustration on cover page.
-Includes an extract from the License of the King


-Detailed illustrations included throughout.

There are many other features that rare book collectors look for when examining these kinds of texts, such as:

-Colophon: a note at the end of the book that includes name of work, author, printer, place of printing and date

-Rubrication: when a heading or section of a book is written or printed in red letters

-Tooling: a designed impression made on the cover of a book, engraved by a metal tool

-Woodcut: when an illustration is made using wood rather than metal

And many more! Like I said, it’s like there is a whole other language to describe these books!

I learned a lot while examining and researching these old texts. I had no idea how much goes into collecting and preserving rare books. Every little detail is evaluated and deciphered. It’s amazing! Although I only got a tiny little taste of what it would be like to specialize in old and rare books, I enjoyed every last minute. It really is a special treat to touch something made in 1634. Ah, and the smell! (You book nerds out there know what I’m talking about). Take some time to explore something you know very little about; it may surprise you how rewarding it is. So, open up that book into the unknown, whatever that may be for you, turn the pages, and dive in!

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-Contributed by Rhonda Rinehart.  

A new collection at the Center for the History of Psychology gives an insider’s view of the daily operations of early American psychiatric hospitals.  On permanent loan to the Center from the Cushing Memorial Library at Texas A&M University, this collection of nearly 500 asylum reports from 33 states opens the front doors of US psychiatric hospitals and allows us a look at operations in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.



Most reports include information on conditions, client activities, food and diet, demographics, and strategic planning while some reports also include images such as photographs or etchings of the facility.



These reports provide a good opportunity to compare activities among hospitals during this time as well as delve into differing historical perspectives of treatment, facility support and client well-being.  Differences in types of facilities range from institutions that focused on the treatment and housing of the “criminally insane” to those referred to as “retreats” where clients were treated for alcoholism.





These reports, from 1837 through 1936 span a 100 year history of psychiatric care in the United States.  Changes in medical terminology throughout the years in describing psychological disorders and diseases are often reflected in the report titles.  Inebriates, dipsomaniacs, idiocy, lunatic, and psychopath are terms used in describing the patients themselves as well as terms that appear in the names of the facilities.



As some of these reports are nearly 200 years old, the condition varies, from nearly unusable with crumbling paper and detached covers, to usable but fragile.  Each report came to the Center with archival board binder protection, but the reports themselves are in great need of preservation to make them accessible to researchers.



This important collection is a rare reserve of materials that complement both the history of psychology as well as additional collections at the CHP.  Browse the collection in the University of Akron Libraries catalog.

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– Contributed by Cathy Faye.

The August Book of the Month is a significant and valuable volume in our collection.  The historie of the world: commonly called the natural historie of C. Plinius Secundus, translated into English by Philemon Holland, doctor in physicke by Pliny, the Elder (23 A.D. -79 A.D.) was a cornerstone in the long, taxonomic tradition of classifying and describing the contents of the natural and human sciences.

Commonly referred to as Pliny’s Natural Historie, this work was written sometime in the first century AD, published in Latin in 1469, and first translated into English in 1601.

Commonly referred to as Pliny’s Natural Historie, this work was written sometime in the first century AD, published in Latin in 1469, and first translated into English in 1601.

Divided into 37 books, it includes descriptions of the state of knowledge on a wide variety of subjects such as medicine, art, zoology, chemistry, and anthropology. It’s an encyclopedic account of the knowledge and lore of the ancient world and is considered by scholars to be one of the first encyclopedias of the western world.

The breadth of the work, along with the depth of its details made it a frequently consulted reference source for scholars until the Renaissance, and it continued to be cited into the nineteenth century.

The breadth of the work, along with the depth of its details made it a frequently consulted reference source for scholars until the Renaissance, and it continued to be cited into the nineteenth century.

The book is a leather-bound printed on handmade paper. It is 13”x9”x4”, sewn on 6 raised cords with a tightback spine structure. The covers seem to be original but the spine leather is not. Currently, the deteriorated state of the volume prevents us from exhibiting it.

The book is leather-bound and printed on handmade paper. It is 13”x9”x4”, sewn on 6 raised cords with a tightback spine structure. The covers seem to be original but the spine leather is not. Currently, the deteriorated state of the volume prevents us from exhibiting it.

The book has been previously repaired at least twice prior to arriving at the CHP and a conservator estimates the repairs may have been done nearly 200 years ago.

The book has been previously repaired at least twice prior to arriving at the CHP and a conservator estimates the repairs may have been done nearly 200 years ago.

Pliny’s Natural Historie needs your help!  It is in need of restoration and is part of the Adopt a Book program at CHP.  A conservation assessment indicated that the costs for treatment of the book would total $2,800.

Interested in donating or finding out more about Adopt a Book?  Contact us!

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