Posted on

Paper and civilization

Timothy Barrett, photo by Samantha Contis for the New York Times
Photo by Samantha Contis for the New York Times

We highly recommend Mark Levine’s article in the Sunday New York Times Magazine about Timothy Barrett, a specialist in historic sheet paper materials and techniques. Barrett is a research scientist and adjunct professor at the University of Iowa Center for the Book and a Macarthur fellow. He is a dedicated researcher and a consummate craftsman–his papers have been used to repair musical scores of Mozart and as a backdrop on which to display the parchment originals of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.

“Sometimes I worry about what a weird thing it is to be preoccupied with paper when there’s so much trouble in the world,” he says, “but then I think of how our whole culture is knitted together by paper, and it makes a kind of sense.”

Read the whole article here, and don’t miss the excellent slide show that goes with it.