The Poison Book Project

The Poison Book Project investigates potentially toxic heavy metals used in 19th-century, mass-produced Euro-American bookbindings, a common object type found across small and mid-sized institutions. This webinar will share practical advice on how to identify these potentially toxic books, as well as health and safety recommendations institutions large and small can use when they have identified poison books in their collections.


Dr. Melissa Tedone is Assistant Professor in the University of Delaware Art Conservation Department and Associate Director of the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation. Formerly, she was Lab Head for Library Materials Conservation at Winterthur Museum, Garden, & Library, where the Poison Book Project launched. Melissa holds a doctorate in Slavic literary history from Yale University and an MSIS in book and paper conservation from the University of Texas at Austin. Melissa is an appointed member of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Library Alliance Board of Directors, the lead conservator of the Poison Book Project, and a founding co-chair of the Bibliotoxicology Working Group (BibTox). BibTox is an international cohort of conservators, scientists, librarians, and health and safety professionals working to define best practices for managing potentially toxic library and archives collections.

Dr. Rosie Grayburn is the Head of the Scientific Research and Analysis lab at Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library and Affiliated Associate Professor in the Winterthur/University of Delaware in Art Conservation, where she teaches conservation science and analytical methodologies to graduate fellows in art conservation. In her current role she facilitates research in a broad variety of materials. Her main areas of research are currently Victorian pigmented bookcloth, the optimization and study of treatments for silver and silverplate and the greening of organic solvents used in conservation practice. She is a founding co-chair of the Bibliotoxicology Working Group (BibTox). She was previously a postdoctoral fellow in Conservation Science at the Getty Conservation Institute in Los Angeles.  Rosie holds a joint Ph.D. in Physics and Analytical Chemistry from Universiteit Gent and the University of Warwick.


Recording September 20, 2023 Duration 1 hour 4 minutes