Tuesday, August 19, 2008

From the Preservation Lab

Yesterday as I was repairing a gift book published 1909 I noticed an interesting bookplate in the front. (Click on the image to increase the size.) The warning at the bottom struck me, as I had just fully detached the front cover.

Since I am employed for the explicit purpose of cutting old books during repairs, the threat of up to six months in jail wasn't too scary. However, as I spoke to the head of our department about the statute quoted on the plate, we began to wonder if such a law was still on the Massachusetts books. A few minutes searching in LoisLaw yielded my answer. Yes, indeed this law still existed and both the fine and jail time has increased. It's lovely to know that the commonwealth has put up this front line of defense, in effect lessening the amount of items that come to the lab through malicious intent. Now, if only there were a law preventing inherent vice.

- Lacy Crews, Preservation Assistant