We are sad to announce the death of former papyrus conservator Leyla Lau-Lamb, who passed at the end of December. Originally a native of Hannover, Germany, Leyla earned a degree in nursing but in the 1980s began a career in bookbinding and conservation. Leyla joined the University of Michigan Library in the 1990s and for over ten years participated in the multi-institutional Advanced Papyrological Information System (APIS) grant projects, one of the first major online databases of cultural objects. From her deep experience, she wrote the APIS Guidelines for Conservation of Papyrus, which are still referenced by all seeking information on the care of papyrus collections. She initiated and taught a biennial papyrus conservation seminar to international groups of conservators and papyrologists and shared her knowledge of the fundamentals of papyrus conservation with generations of conservators and papyrologists. She made a huge impact on the accessibility of U-M's papyrus collections, the largest in North America. After a 26-year career at the University of Michigan Library, she retired as senior conservator of books and papyrus in 2016.
Those who were privileged to know and work with Leyla remember her laugh and her capacity to live life to the fullest. To honor her memory and incredible contribution to the field of conservation, the Library has created the Leyla Lau-Lamb Papyrus Conservation Seminar Fund to support the needs-based attendance of a conservator or papyrologist in the seminar held at the Library every two years. To support this tribute fund, please visit the Michigan Online Giving page and enter the name of the fund in the "Write In" field. Your contribution will allow the Library's conservation staff to carry on Leyla's legacy of professional care and ethical standards in the preservation of ancient papyri.
* Text extracted from an email from Marieka Kaye, Head of Conservation and Book Repair at the University of Michigan Library.