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Cambridge University Library


By Nadia Vidro on Thu 13 Jul 2023

Most Genizah fragments are damaged – “torn”, “stained”, “rubbed”, “faded” occur frequently in Genizah catalogues – but some fragments are more damaged than others. Ink corrosion can destroy a text almost completely. A page torn vertically is harder to make sense of than one torn horizontally. It is especially frustrating but also tantalising when writing is preserved but earlier conservation work has, through error or a misunderstanding, obscured it. In such cases, working today with the UL’s Conservation... Read More

Has tags: calendar, conservation, Genizah Fragments, polemic, Saadiah Gaon


By Melonie Schmierer-Lee and Deborah Farndell on Wed 17 Nov 2021

In 2014, UL conservator Mary French was asked to examine a parchment fragment in the New Series which had been encapsulated with a small piece of parchment folded over and obscuring a word. When she opened the Melinex pocket she was perplexed to find that some areas of the parchment were translucent, sticky, and unexpectedly pliable. Concerned that it might mean there was a humidity issue in the manuscript storage room, Mary measured the relative humidity levels and found they were elevated in areas near to some air vents. These vents were capped, and in 2016, our Conservation and... Read More

Has tags: conservation, Genizah Fragments, parchment, Q&A, Targum


By Melonie Schmierer-Lee and Marina Pelissari on Wed 6 Oct 2021

Marina, what are you working on today?

I’m one month into a nine-month project to prepare the final housings for the Cambridge part of the Lewis-Gibson Genizah collection. These manuscripts were originally collected by Agnes Lewis and Margaret Gibson, and were donated by them to Westminster College. In 2013 Cambridge and Oxford jointly bought the manuscripts, and half have now been sent to Oxford. The Cambridge fragments have already been conserved and encapsulated in Melinex – an archival plastic – but they are now being bound into books. Today, I’m working on... Read More

Has tags: conservation, Genizah Fragments, Lewis-Gibson, Q&A


By Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Thu 12 Aug 2021

Our Throwback Thursday this week is taken from issue 28 of the printed edition of Genizah Fragments, published in October 1994, by J.D. Pearson, Emeritus Professor of Bibliography at the University of London. He recalls his days as a young man in Cambridge, fetching manuscripts, encountering Genizah researchers, and battling the smells of the fragments:

Having joined the Library staff as a “boy” (today called an assistant) in 1928, at the age of sixteen, I became acquainted with the documents... Read More

Has tags: conservation, Genizah Fragments


By Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Thu 27 May 2021

Our Throwback Thursday this week is taken from issue 63 of the printed edition of Genizah Fragments, published in April 2012, by the conservator Lucy Cheng:

Mosseri IXa.1.28 is a paper fragment, which was crumpled and exposed to dust due to less than ideal storage in the past. After testing the stability of the inks, the fragment was cleaned by gentle brushing, and encrustation of dirt or dust was broken down with pressure from a small spatula and the debris brushed away. To... Read More

Has tags: conservation, Genizah Fragments, Mosseri