Art Nouveau Book Restoration: One Hundred and One Famous Poems

by laraleslieyoung

I found a ruined book of poems from 1926 and decided to restore it, even though I knew it wasn’t valuable.  It was designed to appear valuable, but to be affordable for everyone.  I restored it because I loved the poems in the book and have real affection for Art Nouveau.

Here is the book’s restoration journey, in photos, from start to finish:

One Hundred and One Famous Poems before restoration: gold paint  worn off the cover, every edge unglued, torn in the corners, and decayed endpapers.

One Hundred and One Famous Poems before restoration: gold paint worn off the cover, every edge unglued, torn in the corners, and decayed endpapers.

I re-set the spine and gauze.

I re-set the spine and gauze.

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I added new edges and corners where they were torn or missing.

I added new edges and corners where they were torn or missing.

I strengthened the faux leather cover with new glue and paper.

I strengthened the faux leather cover with new glue and paper.

Choosing the right glue is critical to bookbinding and restoration. I wanted the glue to be flexible, acid-free, and archival, so I used PH Neutral PVA Bookbinders Adhesive.

Choosing the right glue is critical to bookbinding and restoration. I wanted the glue to be flexible, acid-free, and archival, so I used PH Neutral PVA Bookbinders Adhesive.

The pages inside the book were in surprisingly good condition.  All I had to do to protect them was reinforce the spine.

The pages inside the book were in surprisingly good condition. All I had to do to protect them was reinforce the spine.

I added new endpapers with a fern pattern.  Thanks to my friends, Rex and Jose, who (respectively) brought me the paper and cut it to fit the book.

I added new endpapers with a fern pattern. Thanks to my friends, Rex and Jose, who (respectively) brought me the paper and cut it to fit the book.

One Hundred and One Famous Poems after restoration - not perfect, but good for at least another century of use.

One Hundred and One Famous Poems after restoration – not perfect, but good for at least another century of use.

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