When I introduce myself as a conservator of books and documents, I am often met with reactions ranging from surprise to puzzlement: “What does that mean?”
In truth, I myself never imagined what a range of interesting projects I could work on with my talents and my extensive experience in the preservation, restoration, documentation and storage of books and original documents.
About a month ago, I was approached by someone who had recently discovered in his home a box containing certificates, documents and other historical artifacts dating to the early 20th century, and revealing fascinating details about the lives of his grandparents. He viewed the collection as a treasure of great importance for his family and his descendants, and also as a contribution to the fascinating history of the State of Israel.
The documents were very old, and he realized that they were in need of professional restoration and preservation. He located me via the Internet and requested my help.
“I recently found documents from the beginning of last century belonging to my grandparents, Rivka and Menachem Mendel Rabinowitz. In order for them to be able to be shared with the extended family and handed down to future generations, they needed to undergo a process of professional restoration. Timna did fantastic work, following which we were able to read the invitation to their wedding, their Ketuba (Jewish wedding document), and an identity card and certificate of citizenship of Palestine granted to my grandfather by the British High Commissioner as the representative of King George V of Britain. Six additional documents that were beautifully restored had been handwritten in Yiddish by my grandmother, and shed light on her hobby – high-quality translation of fine short stories from Polish to Yiddish.
A huge thank you to Timna for the restoration work and for her arrangement of the documents in a special portfolio.”
For me, every historical document and record – like these and countless others that I have treated over the course of my professional career – is a life story, the story of a community, of a culture.
I approach every project with reverence and respect, working with great care and meticulous attention to bring them back to life. In this instance, along with restoration of each individual record, the project also called for an overall vision for the collection, a hand-crafted album and binding, and preparation of sleeves and boxes for each of the documents. The finished product is a fitting and dignified repository that will serve the entire family as a private archive for many years.
Additional services include written research on the relevant historical period, graphic design, and more.
In addition, and in cooperation with genealogist Dr. Avraham Garcia, I offer genealogical research to accompany and enrich collections of family photographs and documents.
The restrictions on movement necessitated by the current COVID crisis mean that we are spending more time at home, offering opportunities to locate, collate and sort through documents, pictures, and other family heirlooms that we’ve never known what to do with.
These artifacts recall people and periods that are long gone. Restoring and preserving them gives them the honor they deserve and leaves them as a legacy for generations to come.
I invite you to contact me with whatever questions you may have. I will gladly offer advice in all matters relating to restoration and preservation. Under lockdown and confined to the home environment, exploring family or personal archives takes on new significance. Enjoy the adventure.