Our second Othmer Library Word Challenge post:
In the world of Book collecting, condition is so important. Collectors consider the book as an object and the condition of the physical form often drives the value. Here at the Othmer Library we try to strike a balance between the condition of the book and the value of the item to researchers. A large percentage of the items in the Othmer Library are donated so we often don’t have control over the condition of the volumes we receive. Almost all of the books we receive are worn and used in some way. These books are often working copies owned by scientists or were once part of a research library.
This volume came to us from a recent donation from a retired chemist and you can tell. While cataloging this volume, I saw that the book has some major condition issues, first and foremost it had an unknown stain that I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what it could be! Since the stains did not impair the text and since this title is scarce and hard to find, I decided to add it to our collection despite the condition of the pages.
Often book damage is tragic but sometimes the damage borders on the beautiful. Condition can turn a worn out chemistry book into an accidental work of art. These stains look like a beautiful cobalt blue water color reminiscent of a famous Dutch post-impressionist work.
Images from Outlines from the Course of Qualitative Analysis Followed in the Giessen Laboratory by Henry Will, 1847.