Spines of Special Collections

Home Words for Heart & Hearth, a periodical for the Church of England by Charles Bullock (1829-1911)

Here in the Special Collections & Archives Division of the Florida State University Libraries, we see a variety of spines on our shelves. Sometimes you get so busy you don’t pay them too much mind. Others catch your eye and bring about curiosity about what may lay inside its bindings.

We often have books with spines of varying conditions, including those with red rot, tears, and missing pieces altogether. Like with any item within our collections, we try to maintain them as close to the form we receive them in as possible, without leaving preservation issues to fester on their own. These conditions are individually taken care of through preservation measures. This can mean giving a book its own custom housing or securing the loose covers to the object without a spine.

A selection of books within the John MacKay Shaw Collection held in the subbasement of Strozier Library

Many cases don’t require any preservation work at all. Despite a tear or a missing piece, we understand the worth of the item in its current form. That being said, we give priority to each as we assess them for any preservation that is needed.

While there are items in less than perfect condition, we also have many within our collections that have spines in very good condition. Seeing the juxtaposition of the different objects we hold can be an interesting view in itself!

Below you can see just a few of the spines within our collections.

Published by Michaela Westmoreland

Project Manager at FSU Special Collections & Archives

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