Of Baseball, Books, and Book Tape

What could a ticket to a Cincinnati Buckeyes baseball game in 1869 have in common with a book of Sophocles’ works in Latin and Greek?

Ticket for a Cincinnati Buckeyes baseball game, 1869

Sophoclis tragoediae septem / ad optimorum librorum recensuit et brevibus notis instruxit I. [i.e., C.] G.A. Erfurdt.
The ticket was signed by B.O.M. DeBeck, third-baseman for the Cincinnati Buckeyes. Here is the text of the advertisement of this rare bit of early baseball memorabilia:

“1869 pass issued by the first baseball team in American history, the Buckeye Base Ball Club of Cincinnati. Partially printed pass instructs: ”Admit Harry Heys and Lady to all games of the BBC” within a printed oval-shaped line. Verso is labeled ”No. 138” and is signed in black by the team’s former third baseman ”B.O.M. DeBeck” as Treasurer. The Buckeyes were the Cincinnati Red Stockings’ original rival, and were eventually absorbed into the Red Stockings. … A scarce baseball collectible.”

http://natedsanders.com/scarce-1869-pass-to-watch-the-first-baseball-team-in-american-history—–lot7358.aspx

The connection is that B.O. M. DeBeck is the former owner of said book, now in the collection of the Indiana University Bloomington Libraries.

Inside covers with DeBeck’s bookplate. Note the crusty, whitish-gray residue from book cloth tape.

And from the number 2221 on the bookplate, it seems that DeBeck had quite a substantial library. A little more poking around on the old Internets reveals that besides playing baseball, B.O.M. DeBeck was a teacher in the Cincinnati public schools.

And he wrote this arithmetic book —

The sad state of DeBeck’s Sophocles is all too common. In the distant past, book repair in libraries meant the creative and copious application of tape. Now we spend our time removing it.

Here are all the pieces of bookcloth tape I removed from DeBeck’s book:

The long, wide piece in the center was covering the spine leather, the two long narrower pieces on either side were stuck to the first and last pages of text, and the 4 triangular pieces covered the corners of the both covers. That orangey thing at the top is the only remnant of the original spine.

Fortunately, I have an effective method to reduce / remove the dry, crust of adhesive that this type of book cloth tape leaves behind. Klucel G in isopropanol is applied, and then “scrubbed” with a soft brush.

 

The crud softens, and can be wiped away. It usually take a few applications. I have used this technique with success on cloth and paper too, although it does nothing about the dark brown stains that penetrate the paper, as seen on the left edge of the title page below.

Mr. DeBeck’s book, sans tape and once again in useable condition.

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