Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Fall 2003 Newsletter

Mrs. Evalina B. Colley, "Bibliotrician"

Photograph

Evalina Colley. Photo by Pete Smith. 2003.

In 1945, Evalina B. Colley began work as The University of Texas's only "Bibliotrician." Reginald Griffith, Librarian of the Rare Books Collection that grew to become the Ransom Center, bestowed this title on her. In the summer of 1950, Eva used her delicate and skilled hands, careful attention to the slightest details, and the most up-to-date methods at that time to rebind a Bible said to have been brought to America on the Mayflower. On May 20th, 2003 Mrs. Colley came to the Ransom Center to check on that treatment. She is pleased that her work has stood the test of time and that the Bible has a new box, custom made by a younger generation of Bibliotricians.

"To see what began in my small workroom having been enlarged to this extent is an experience to savor the rest of my life," said Colley. "A whole floor -- wonderful modern equipment and technology along with old familiar items -- plenty of elbowroom, workspace, storage -- what a joy to see it all! The work of the Rare Book Collection, its wonderful people and the restoration of books have been so dear to my heart all these years. The afternoon spent in the Ransom Center has rekindled many happy memories, for which I thank you kindly."

The Conservation Department of the Ransom Center has grown and achieved international prominence, but conservators still rely on the skilled hands, careful attention to detail, and up-to-date methods of a tradition set forth by Mrs. Colley.  

-Mary Baughman


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