Friday, December 28, 2018

In Memory of Elaine Koretsky

In Memory of Elaine Koretsky (1932–2018)

As is true for many of you reading this, I was shocked and saddened to learn about Elaine’s death last month, after a long illness (Hand Papermaking Newsletter no. 125 (January 2019): 2–3).

I have known Elaine and Sidney, who survives her, since the very earliest days of the Friends of the Dard Hunter Paper Museum (now the FDH) that was formalized in 1981 at the annual meeting of the Book and Paper Group of the American Institure for Conservation. She was an officer in that fledging organization and a stalwart member ever since. I think it is true that she, with Sidney at her side, gave a presentation every annual FDHPM/FDH meeting from about 1983 until just a few years ago. And she contributed articles to the HPN for almost two decades (her daughter Donna Koretsky now writes that column).

Especially when it comes to our understanding of hand papermaking in Asia, Elaine ranks as the most important paper historian this country has ever produced. She contributed more to our knowledge on that topic than anyone. She didn’t just follow in Dard Hunter’s footsteps, she and Sidney travelled down many more roads and saw first-hand many more papermakers in numerous countries. She and Sidney often endured perilous situations, all the while exhibiting stubborn determination to find whatever they sought. Later, she retold the stories of those journeys with remarkable candor and a sense of humor. She and Sidney documented what they experienced visually as well as recalled them in many books and articles, presentations, and workshops. She also founded the International Paper Museum in 1994, and some years before that co-founded Carriage House Paper in Brookline, Mass.

For all that Elaine has accomplished to bring the history of hand papermaking to us, we shall always be grateful and we shall never forget her.

Cathleen A. Baker
December 23, 2018

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