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About Michaelle Biddle

Former Collections Conservator and Head of Preservation Services, Wesleyan University. 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, the Nigerian TetFund and the Prince Claus/Whiting Foundations. 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, London. 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, and others, 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 annually trained undergraduate interns in book conservation. In 2015 she established a manuscript conservation laboratory at Arewa House, Ahmadu Bello University, Kaduna and in 2019 one at The Centre for Trans-Sahara Studies, University of Maiduguri, Nigeria.  She retired from Wesleyan January 2019.
In cooperation with the Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures, University of Hamburg, she has done conservation work in Mali, Nepal and Vietnam.
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.


Present Collections Conservator and Head of Preservation Services, Wesleyan University

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Contact Information

Wesleyan University Library
252 Church St.
Middletown, CT 06459
(860) 685-3875


Articles (4)

Books (1)

Contributions to Books (6)

Conservation Reports (9)