In her talk “Treatment 305: A Love Story,” Kathy Lechuga, book conservator at the Indiana Historical Society, described a deep relationship with a treatment technique that was years in the making. Kathy punctuated her talk with references to Prince lyrics, which she used to emphasis her love for the versatility of her new favorite treatment technique. Treatment 305 was originally developed at Princeton and was presented by Brian J. Baird and Mick Letourneaux in 1994. It is described in the Book and Paper Group Annual, in an article which may be found here.
The talk began with a summary of why Kathy has found this technique useful, what sort of books this treatment is typically used for, and how it relates to the Indiana Historical Society mission statement. Typically, she has found it useful for printed books from the late 18th to 19th century, which fit into the “medium rare” category. As this category of book treatment isn’t often addressed, I enjoyed hearing two talks related to medium rare books, including Quinn Ferris’ talk, “Medium Rare: An innovative approach to the space between special and general collections.” As Kathy described, the books in this category within her institution included collections that are used frequently for research and exhibits, and the ultimate goal of treatment was to improve mobility and durability while maintaining an aesthetic appearance that was harmonious with the books’ time periods.
Kathy was inspired by the Treatment 305 technique, because it helped in many ways to meet her desired treatment goals. She found this technique appropriate for books with a weak binding and a strong text block, and found that it would allow her to create a tight back structure while minimizing the inherent weakness of the historic structure. However, she did decide to experiment with deviations from the exact Treatment 305 technique as described in the original 1994 article, in order to better accommodate the needs of specific volumes, and to incorporate more contemporary treatment practices.
The majority of the talk centered around four case studies which incorporated slight variations on the Treatment 305 technique. The books included in the case studies were similar in that all were missing significant portions of their original binding components, such as their spines, one board, or both boards, and dated to the late 18th century or 19th century. The treatment was varied slightly in each case study, in order to accommodate the needs of each particular volume. All four case studies varied slightly, although common features included minimal spine linings and new boards constructed from two pieces of 4-ply board which had been laminated together.
One component of one case study which really caught everyone’s attention, and resulted in a few audience questions, was Kathy’s use of a screen-printing kit to replicate the title information on the spine of a book. I also thought this was a great new tool to consider, because replicating an original spine is called for on occasion, and using new materials to replicate an aged aesthetic can be a challenge.