The Penn State University Libraries recently appointed William Minter as its first senior book conservator, a move that will greatly enhance the Libraries’ existing preservation program for rare and historical collections. Minter, who has more than 35 years of experience in fine bookbinding and conservation, began his appointment this semester in the University Libraries’ Digitization and Preservation Department. The position is funded by a challenge grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and a matching donation from Jeffery L. and Cynthia King that established the King Family Conservation Endowment in the University Libraries.
“Bill Minter is a true leader in the field of conservation,” said Barbara Dewey, Dean of University Libraries and Scholarly Communications. “He brings a wealth of experience and exceptional skill. Penn State is fortunate to have him join us.” Minter will provide leadership to expand the current conservation program to include enhanced conservation treatments, plan and implement conservation policies and provide training and outreach services to the Libraries, the Penn State community, and beyond. “My goal is to build a meaningful conservation program, which not only preserves the collections for future generations, but also reaches out to other Pennsylvania institutions and helps them care for their collections,” he says.
Minter graduated from Stout State University in Wisconsin (now the University of Wisconsin – Stout) with a degree in industrial technology and a concentration in graphic design. He then pursued a seven-year apprenticeship with William Anthony, a noted fine-design bookbinder and book conservator in Chicago. Following the apprenticeship, Minter opened his own bookbinding and conservation business, specializing in bookbinding and the conservation of rare books and manuscripts for university libraries, museums, rare book dealers and private collectors. He relocated his shop to Woodbury, Pennsylvania, in 1994.
Minter’s experience is extensive and varied, and includes working on projects for a wide range of organizations such as the Library of Congress, the National Park Service, the University of Chicago’s Joseph Regenstein Library, the National Gallery of Art and many others. From 2009 to 2012, he was senior project conservator in the Heritage Science for Conservation program at Johns Hopkins University, where he worked on projects in collaboration with chemists and material engineers.
Minter has served as chair for the Book and Paper Group and Conservators-in-Private-Practice—both groups within the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works. He has also held various leadership positions for Chicago Hand Bookbinders and the Chicago Area Conservation Group. In addition, he is a member of the Guild of Book Workers and the American Library Association. Minter’s influence on book conservation also extends to the technology used in the field. In 1978, he developed the Minter Ultrasonic Welder for polyester film encapsulation, an important piece of equipment that enables the efficient and reversible encapsulation of fragile documents without causing damage to the material. Approximately 200 models are in use today, in the United States and in other countries.
For additional information, see the Penn State Libraries’ Digitization and Preservation Department website: http://www.libraries.psu.edu/psul/digipres.html.