Samuels Family Book Fund

Samuels Family Book Fund

Established by Frances and Jeffrey Samuels to support preservation of library materials in the Humanities collection. Samuels Family Book Fund helped bring a NEH preservation grant to the Brown University Library in the late 1990s. Since that time, we have treated more than 12,000 volumes from humanities collections in order to neutralize their acidic content and extend their useful lives. Other conservation activities have included special housings for our cuneiform tablets and cones dating from 2000+ B.C.E., enclosures for daguerreotypes of the John Hay family, and the digital reformatting of more than one dozen deteriorating audiotapes from the Harris Collection of American Poetry and Plays. We also undertook a multi-year project with the Northeast Document Conservation Center to conserve the Major John C. Henshaw scrapbook (circa 1879), and protecting the parchment documents it contains, including Henshaw's military commission signed by Abraham Lincoln.

Most recently, these funds have supported the conservation an Edgar A. Poe Daguerreotype from 1848, the conservation of Walt Whitman's copy of Leaves of Grass, and four volumes from the Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle. The Poe daguerreotype plate was covered in a glass and brass mat and was housed in a broken case. The glass was replaced with more stable borosilicate glass and the spine of the case was mended and in-painted. A cloth covered clamshell box was custom made to house the cased daguerreotype. The fund also supported the conservation of Walt Whitman's personal copy of Leaves of Grass, 1855. The textblock was broken in several places, stained and covers were split. The volume was washed, deacidified and rebound. A custom drop spine box was made for further protection. Finally, four volumes from the Zoology of the Voyage of the H.M.S. Beagle, 1840, containing oversized and folded lithographs were deteriorating and were disbound, mended, resewn and re-bound and titled with gold stamped leather labels.