Sophia (Sonja) K. Jordan-Mowery has a distinguished national and international reputation in conservation and preservation. Specializing in book and paper conservation, she served as the head of several major academic conservation programs in the United States. Her ongoing work as a consultant includes conservation assessments and training in Egypt, Paraguay, Bulgaria and war-torn Kosovo. She has an active teaching and mentoring agenda which includes workshops in bookbinding, and intermediate and advanced book and paper conversation in her studio in Florida and as visiting faculty at the University of the Arts Book Program. Her publications include a wide breath of articles from the history of a catholic classification system, to conservation, preservation, and materials science. She has taught courses in preservation management, book and paper conservation, and bookbinding courses in Chicago, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Jordan-Mowery has an M.A. in Philosophy from Southern Methodist University and an M.A. from the University of Chicago Library School where she specialized in rare books and manuscripts and preservation.
From 1988-1999, she was at the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN. As Head of Special Collections, Archives and Conservation, she established the first conservation program at the Hesburgh Library in 1989. She successfully secured over $1 million in funding from the National Humanities for the Arts to microfilm the Medieval Institute Collection and over $100,000 from the Culpepper Foundation to build the library's first conservation laboratory. From 1999-2003, she was Division Chief for the Department of Special Collections, Archives, and Conservation at the Harold Washington Library, Chicago, IL. From 2003 to 2015, she was the Joseph Ruzicka and Marie Ruzicka Feldman, Director for Conservation, at the Sheridan Libraries & Museums, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. MD. During her tenure there, she established an internationally recognized conservation program which provided advanced conservation internships for book and paper conservators. In 2008, with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation she established and served as Principal Investigator for Heritage Science for Conservation (HSC). This was the first interdisciplinary conservation lab in an academic library which brought material scientists into the conservation lab to work alongside conservators in order to resolve some of the material performance issues in collections. Working with conservators, curators, and students, this model was designed to foster collaboration across disciplines to advance conservation research and to further integrate conservation into the teaching curriculum.
In addition to her career in academic conservation programs, Jordan-Mowery has maintained a private book and paper conservation practice for 30 years specializing in the conservation of rare books and manuscripts, period bindings, archival documents, maps and works of art on paper and vellum, Her clients include libraries, museums, dealers and individuals. Jordan-Mowery is a professional member of the American Institute for Conservation, Institute for Conservation, and the International Institute for Conservation.