Michaelle Biddle has advanced degrees in librarianship, archival management, and
archaeology. Since 2008 she has been consulting conservator for Northern Nigerian
manuscript collections, supported by grants from the U.S. Ambassador's Cultural
Preservation Fund, the Fufore Family of Yola, the Islamic Manuscript Association, the
Ford Foundation and the Nigerian TetFund. Her interest in and work with Islamic
manuscripts dates to her undergraduate studies in Middle Eastern Anthropology
(Archaeology) and History, and an internship at the School of Oriental and African
Studies. Whilst Islamic art bibliographer at Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co.
(Antiquarian Oriental and African booksellers) she studied with Roger de Coverly of the
London School of Printing in book arts and conservation, with particular emphasis on 19th
century and Islamic materials. In the early 1990s she established a comprehensive book
conservation program and lab at Wesleyan University that now annually trains
undergraduate students and adult apprentices. In 2015 she established a manuscript
conservation laboratory at Arewa House, Ahmadu Bello University, Kaduna, Nigeria. 

In addition to paper and book conservation she is particularly interested in material
cultural analysis of West African bookmaking and manuscript production, inks, pigments,
dyes and paper watermarks. 

As an archaeologist she has participated in digs in Pacqueme, Mexico; Huaco Tanks, Texas;
Petra, Jordan; Cotocotuyoc (Cuzco Valley), Peru; Kazakl'i-yatkan (Urgench),
Uzbekistan; and Pompeii, Italy. 



Conservation of sub-Saharan African Manuscripts, Annual Review of Islam in Africa (ARIA) (2014)

This paper describes a focused conservation and preservation strategy whereby collections of sub-Saharan manuscripts, or...



"Recent preservation and conservation activities for Northern Nigerian manuscripts in Arabic script", Journal of Islamic Manuscripts (2012)

Nigeria has a rich Islamic manuscript heritage in danger of being lost due to lack...



"Inks in the Islamic Manuscripts of Northern Nigeria - Old Recipes, Modern Analysis and Medicine", Journal of Islamic Manuscripts (2011)

This study is concerned with what specific materials are used in fabricating the inks used...



Treatment of an oversize rare book: research and decisions on rebinding (with Evelyn Mayberger, Betty Fiske, and Abigail Quandt), The Book and paper Group Annual (2011)

This paper focuses on the rational for decisions made on treatment, style and materials for...


Contributions to Books

Beyond the Word: Ink in the Islamic manuscripts of Northern Nigeria, Materials Issues in Art and Archaeology IX (2012)

Conservation Reports


Arewa House Arabic Manuscript Conservation Laboratory (2015)

A brochure describing the services offered by the Arewa House (Ahmadu Bello University, Kaduna) Arabic...



Report on the establishment of an Arabic Manuscripts Conservation Laboratory at Arewa House (2015)

During August 2015 a laboratory for the conservation of Nigerian manuscripts in Arabic script was...



Jos Museum Arabic Manuscripts Conservation (JMAMC) Project 27-31 August 2012 (2012)

The Jos Museum Arabic Manuscripts Collection is one of the oldest and largest manuscript collections...