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CONTACT: MELVIN O. SHAW
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0010; fax (319) 384-0024
e-mail: melvin-shaw@uiowa.edu

Release: Sept. 5, 2000

UI Center for the Book to take part in 'Charters of Freedom' ceremony

IOWA CITY-- Archivist of the United States John W. Carlin has invited UI Center for the Book Director Timothy Barrett and paper facility manager Lynn Amlie to take part in a special ceremony Friday, Sept. 15 celebrating the unveiling of page two of the U.S. Constitution in a new, state-of-the-art encasement.

Carlin invited Barrett and Amlie because of their contributions to a major National Archives and Records Administration project to rehouse all of the "Charters of Freedom." The National Archives' effort, when complete, will see each leaf of the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and the U.S. Constitution placed in an individual protective enclosure filled with an inert gas. The new encasements are designed to preserve the documents indefinitely.

The National Archives and Records Administration commissioned the Center for the Book to produce a special handmade paper for use as support sheets inside each of the seven new encasements that will be used to preserve the Charters of Freedom. A cushion of the UI paper will rest under each historic parchment document and will help regulate the relative humidity within the enclosures.

Barrett and Amlie developed the paper using textile quality cotton fiber to give a white, highly permanent sheet free of strong chemical cooking and bleaching. Amlie and her student co-workers produced by hand all 100 of the required 36 by 36-inch sheets.

"It is an honor to be involved in a project like this," says Amlie. "It allows us to combine our expertise in traditional techniques with new technology to produce a paper specially designed to help preserve these important documents."

Barrett and Amlie will make special presentations on their research to rare book and paper conservators at the National Archives and the Library of Congress. While in Washington, D.C. Barrett will also meet with John Cole, director of the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress, to discuss programs of mutual interest to both institutions.

"We have a wide range of specialists, classrooms, and research and production facilities committed to the study of the physical book and creative book production," says Barrett.

"We're in the process of building a comprehensive program that will also include research and teaching connected with the impact of the book on society. Producing this paper is just the type of unique contribution we're able to make at the UI because of our strengths in book studies.

Barrett and Amlie will be among 100 guests at the Sept. 15 event hosted by Archivist John Carlin and Presidential Historian Michael Beschloss.

For additional information on the Center for the Book in the preservation project or upcoming event, contact Tim Barrett, at (319) 335-4712 or Lynn Amlie (319) 335-4410.