The Archives & Rare Books Library’s first edition copy of The Book of Mormon recently underwent conservation treatment to clean and repair its binding and text block. The work was undertaken as part of the University of Cincinnati Libraries’ larger preservation efforts for special materials.
ARB holdings include many sacred texts, from Qur’ans and Bibles to Buddhist leaf books. Its copy of The Book of Mormon receives a great deal of use, so it is important that it be preserved for future students and scholars. This first edition of the book was published in 1830 in Palmyra, New York by Joseph Smith, and is considered one of the primary books of faith by the Latter Day Saints.
The restoration was done by conservator Gabrielle Fox and her student assistant, Laura Caravantes. Fox replaced the worn end papers with a marbled paper similar in look to standard 19th century marbling designs. She also cleaned the soiled pages, repaired some minor tears, and restored and stabilized the full black leather binding. Caravantes then constructed an archival clamshell box to securely hold the volume. The bookplate, indicating that the volume was part of the Robert Clarke collection that was donated to the University of Cincinnati in 1898 by William A. Procter as the university’s founding group of library books, was also reattached.
The call number for UC’s copy of The Book of Mormon is SpecCol RB BX8623 1830.
–Written by Kevin Grace