Dear Bibliobull –
I have books from the 1800’s, I’m trying to decide which is worse: to have a missing endpaper or to have it replaced. What do you think? How do I replace the missing ones?
Oddly at an End
Dear Odd –
Replacing an endpaper or even all the endpapers is not a crime. Endpapers have always been replaceable, that is until the fetishists took over the collecting game. The endpaper is the final piece the binder applies that covers up all the unattactive parts of the fine work he has just done. Back when people collected books for their content, recasing a book and giving it new endpapers was commonplace.
• 1st get a file drawer and some manila folders
• 2nd collect endapers from damaged and dead books, this may take a while, perhaps the rest of your life.
• 3rd file them by height; (you can put the colored, patterned and clay pages in other folders by COLOR HUE)
• 4th when you have a book missing an endpaper you can go to your files and have a good shot at replacing it. This includes cutting down larger endpapers to fit smaller books, so don’t forget to cannibalize all those agricultural reports and congressional records!
In an extreme case you can go shopping and buy a cheap book with the proper vintage endpaper and then sacrifice it to the book gods so that the other book may live.
When you have a missing front free endpaper that you can’t replace: try moving the rear free endpaper to the front, you will need to flip it around but it works spectacularly for replacing feps on books where the continued erasing of prices has ragged the top right corner of the fep.
When matching endpapers from book to book: You need a WINDOW – a light bulb just doesn’t cut it. Hold a mostly blank page from the injured book up to the light and check the chain marks and the fiber content. This helps you get within a few decades of the correct vintage. Then try to match the texture of a loose endpaper to that one.
You can experiment with bleaching the ink off a page that has say 2 or 3 lines on it, but you will never be happy with the result. By the time you remove the ink you will also be removing any patina and foxing the paper has in it and it will never really match. But these pages are useful for cutdowns.
BTW there IS a company out there who makes CLAY PAPER like the kind found in late 19thc publishers bindings. (it used to be Artext but i am not sure now) it’s still ugly as sin and a horror show to work with, (every scratch shows up) but if you really need it you can get it thru art supply houses. The backing paper is snow white so you need to paste on vintage paper over it for the fep but then it becomes noticeable thick, I don’t advise using it unless you are a masochist.