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Baxter’s Grand Rapids gets a new leather spine.

Many old books are reference volumes that have seen fairly heavy wear, and continue to be used. Below is an example of such a book. The boards were preserved to maintain some originality, and the spine was reproduced in a similar fashion. Reusing a spine piece on a restoration or replacing it with all new materials is always a difficult question. I try to err on the side of preservation, and keeping as much as possible of original bindings. But sometimes this is impractical. If a book is to be used regularly, an old spine will only be a liability. Better to keep the original in the back of the book, and replace the spine with a sympathetic new spine. A properly worked up spine can do great justice to a displaced original.

Baxter, History of Grand Rapids, Michigan, NY, Munsell, 1891

The spine before restoration. Because the book was going to be used fairly regularly, a new spine was opted for, and the old spine preserved in the inside cover.

The restored book with inserted new spine.

Categories: 19th Century, Restoration.

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