Not long ago, Special Collections received an Iowa State University football manual dating back to the Coach George Veenker years (1931-1936). The small, black, three-ring binder had been found by Dale Geise, who donated it to the University Library. The introduction to the manual admonishes players to “Read it entirely, always, the night before a game.”
There is a lot of valuable dope in this book which, if gotten into the hands of our opponents, would ruin us.
— Iowa State College Football Manual (ca. 1933)
The manual’s worn appearance proves how well-used it was. The pages are curling and tattered where they have pressed against the binder rings over the years, and many of the holes punched in the paper had been reinforced with small, gummed, cloth circles. There is also evidence of insect damage, where portions of the paper have been eaten away.
Our conservation goal was to stabilize the manual, making it safe for researchers to handle, while also retaining as much of the original character of the binding as we could. To this end, we first used a poultice to soften and remove the gummed cloth reinforcement circles and any remaining adhesive residue.
Next, the pages of the manual were humidified, a process which encourages the paper fibers to relax by placing the pages in a chamber with a high relative humidity. Once the pages had relaxed, they were stacked between sheets of blotter lined with Remay (a smooth, woven polyester). The blotter stack was pressed under boards and weights to flatten the pages.
Using a drilling jig to mark the correct distance between holes, we drilled single sheets of Mylar (Melinex) to fit the 3-ring binder.
Each page of the manual was individually encapsulated in a Mylar (Melinex) sleeve, with 1/4″ overhang on the gutter edge. The single-sheet Mylar (Melinex) stubs were then welded into the overhang.
Next, the attached stubs were trimmed and the manual pages were placed back in the original 3-ring binder. The encapsulated sheets are wider than the originals and extend slightly beyond the fore edge of the binder, so a protective clamshell box (in ISU colors cardinal and gold, of course) was built to house the manual.