Frances Loeb Library

Preservation Project for the H. H. Richardson Collection

Henry Hobson Richardson's library together with his photograph albums were donated to Harvard in 1936 by Charles Coolidge. Both the library and the photo albums are at the GSD now. In 1942, Joseph Richardson added to the collection a sketchbook, 10 photographs, and additional correspondence.

The archival materials at Harvard represent the single richest concentration of original resources for the study of H.H. Richardson.

In 1994 the Frances Loeb Library began a two-part project to conserve the fifty-four photograph albums and three hundred architectural books of American architect H. H. Richardson, currently held in the Special Collections Department. The photograph albums received conservation treatment and re-housing through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 1996 the library began an Adopt-A-Book program, in which individual donors underwrite the costs of repairing a single volume from Richardson's library. The project is completed as of June 2007.

The majority of the books in the Richardson Collection are bound in half leather bindings with marbled papers on boards. Text blocks are mostly sewn on recessed cords. The spines are tooled in gold, top edges usually gilt. There is Richardson's personal stamp on the front boards (A); bindery stamp on the verso of the front fly leaves (B); the books were stored in a room with an open fire which resulted in soot stains along the book edges (C).


"Architectural Details Plates" an odd collection of bound plates from various periodicals.
9 volume set received in full cloth library bindings. Boards and edges were extremely soiled. Corners were damaged. Existing bindings were removed and new bindings were constructed and covered in dark brown goat leather with marbled papers on boards.

"Espaa Artstica y Monumental" by J. Prez Villaami. Paris, 1842.
3 volume set received in original quarter dark brown leather binding with cloth boards. All 3 spines were missing and boards were detached from text blocks. The books were disbound, re-sewn on linen tapes. New bindings were constructed and covered in dark brown goat leather with brown decorative papers on boards.

"Monuments de Pise au Moyen Age" by G. Rohault de Fleury. Paris, 1866.
This book was received in half leather binding with cloth boards. Front board was completely detached. Fragments of spine and back board were semi attached. Boards were badly damaged and extremely soiled. The book was rebound and covered in goat leather and marbled boards.


Frances Loeb Library: Collections: Conservation Lab: H. H. Richardson Collection

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