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Reading and care of some old books


Registered User
Hey Guys, so last night at my Lodge's practice I got looking at their small library of books and quite a few of them are pretty old like I think the one I felt most comfortable reading because it didn't look like it might fall apart in my hands if I opened it was printed around WWII time frame or earlier.

So here's my question. How would you go about preserving books that old. There was one I dared to pull off the shelf that had a piece of tissue paper over each of the pictures because it looked like each picture in the book was hand painted. I love the history of stuff so I want to read them but I'm afraid of them getting ruined and how to preserve them but also to still be able to read the information that the hold. The margins on each page must be close to 1 inch margins.


Premium Member
Changes in temperature are bad... humidity and heat are bad. To much exposure to light is bad. When examining a old book, use another book or roll of paper towels etc to prop up the front cover to remove undue stress on binding. Wash hands before handling, and potentially where white cotton gloves. There are site you can go to that will go into much more detail. Best of luck.


Registered User
> How would you go about preserving books that old.
> it was printed around WWII time frame

There's this library in the Netherlands that just reopened, the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica. I visited their old location quite a few times. On ground level they had all their new books, 1800 until the present. Anyone could just grap them. A floor above there were the books from around 1600 until 1800. When you asked the reception, you could go there and pick any book you like, but it couldn't leave the room. Older books were another floor up in Joost Ritman's office, only accessible on request.

If a book of just 60 years falls apart it was a crappy one to begin with or there is a big problem with its storage. I have plenty books of 50 to 100 years old (and a few older), but I treat them like any other book. Sure, if it already had dried out pages when I got it, I'll be a bit more careful, a few I keep in plastic in case their really fall apart.