The Conservation of Dante’s 1477 Divine Comedy: Lecture this Afternoon in Rare Books & Special Collections 3pm-4pm

About the Presenter
Jeff Peachey is an independent book conservator and toolmaker based in New York City. For more than 25 years, he has specialized in the conservation of books for institutions and individuals. He is a Professional Associate in the American Institute for Conservation, has taught book conservation workshops internationally, and was recently awarded fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center (Italy) and Rochester Institute of Technology’s Cary Collection (New York). He is a Visiting Instructor for the Library and Archives Conservation Education Consortium (LACE) of Buffalo State University, New York University, and the Winterthur/ University of Delaware. “Ausbund 1564: The History and Conservation of an Anabaptist Icon” is his latest publication. He grew up in Goshen, Indiana, and is a proud graduate of Goshen College.

Peachey will share the journey of conservation through an illustrated lecture. Bibliophiles, conservators, librarians, scholars of Italian Studies, and anyone curious about the history of books and literature will find this lecture of interest. Highlights include:
Evidence uncovered during treatment, suggesting the Inferno and Purgatory cantiche may have circulated separately at one point, will be explored. Differences between historic 15th-century binding practices and modern conservation binding techniques will be highlighted, as will the sometimes problematic differences between historic and modern materials. An overview of functional and aesthetic considerations for conservation rebinding will conclude the lecture.

Hesburgh Libraries’ Zahm Dante Collection bolsters Notre Dame’s globally recognized program in Italian Studies. One of the most important volumes of the collection is its earliest printing of Dante’s Divine Comedy, produced in 1477 in Venice by Wendelin of Speyer.

Ensuring meaningful access to and use of rare and early imprints by faculty and students for research is a goal for the Hesburgh Libraries conservation and preservation efforts. Age and frequent use demands for this volume mandated restoration work. To undertake this significant treatment, the Libraries enlisted the specialized skills of accomplished conservator, Jeff Peachey.

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Author: Leslie L Morgan

Leslie serves as the Africana Studies and Education Librarian within the Hesburgh Libraries.