The Jamestown Records of the Virginia Company of London: A Conservator's Perspective
Library of Congress senior paper conservators Sylvia R. Albro and Holly H. Krueger tell the remarkable story of how Library conservators rescued Thomas Jefferson’s colonial Jamestown records from disintegration.
The Jamestown Records of the Virginia Company of London, part of the Thomas Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress, uniquely illuminate a critical era of early American history. Jefferson incorporated them into his own papers because he recognized their great historic value. This essay by Sylvia R. Albro and Holly H. Krueger, Senior Paper Conservators at the Library of Congress, tells the remarkable story of how these records were rescued from disintegration and suggests some of the many ways in which the physical conservation of historic documents is vital to the acquisition and preservation of historical knowledge. In this online presentation, the original Jamestown Records may be seen in Volumes 16 and 17 of The Thomas Jefferson Papers Series 8. (Winter 2000)
Introduction | Physical Condition of the Jamestown Records in 1994 | History of the Jamestown Records | Paper Used in the Records | Ink Used in the Records | Discoloration Patterns in the Records | Treatment of Silked Documents: Weighing the Options | Mylar Treatment and Other Alternatives to De-Silking | The De-silking Option | De-silking the Jamestown Records | Repairing the De-silked Documents by Leafcasting | Treatment of Unsilked Pages | Future Treatment of the Jamestown Records | Notes
The Jamestown Records of the Virginia Company of London trace the activities of the English settlers who founded the Jamestown colony in the Tidewater area of Chesapeake Bay. Dating from the early seventeenth century, the records are the earliest manuscript sources in the Library of Congress dealing with English settlements in the New World. The ultimate success of the Jamestown colony led to the establishment of the colony of Virginia, the largest and arguably the most important colony in British North America, and for that reason the records are a critical primary source for early American history.
The story told by the Jamestown Records, presented to the general public for the first time through The Thomas Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress, is an important one. Another story, no less important, tells how the Library acquired these papers and the efforts it has made to restore and preserve them. This essay describes the history of the Jamestown Records themselves and explains how they were treated by the Library of Congress Conservation Division.
Physical Condition of the Jamestown Records in 1994
When they were brought to the attention of the Conservation Division in 1994, the Jamestown Records were in poor physical condition. There were two bound volumes and two hundred loose leaves dating from the early seventeenth century, all of which had been part of the personal library of Thomas Jefferson. For seventy years the collection had been stored in poor-quality acidic boxes, with the loose sheets interleaved with brittle paper and woodpulp board and tied up with string. The seventeenth-century script was difficult for an untrained eye to read and the papers displayed alarming damage from the conditions of their storage. They were soft and moldy, the ink had blurred and in some cases gotten wet, most of the sizing had deteriorated, and any original bindings had disappeared.
In such a state the papers could not be safely handled. A microfilm made in 1956 was available to readers, but the originals languished. The Manuscript Division requested that the condition of the papers be evaluated for their long-term preservation and that the stability of the collection be improved for limited handling by scholars and for exhibition use.
History of the Jamestown Records
It is a wonder that any originals from Jamestown survived at all given the continual conflicts the settlers experienced with Native Americans and the fact that both the palisade fort and the church where other papers and books were kept burned to the ground several times during the seventeenth century 1. Yet this precious collection of papers, fragments though they are, was saved by a series of prominent Virginian political figures.
The earliest surviving information about their condition is a description written by William Stith, an early historian of Virginia who wrote of these same papers in 1746: ". . . they were so carelessly kept, are so broken, interrupted, and deficient, have been so mangled together in single Leaves and sheets in Books out of the binding that I foresee it will cost me infinite pains and labour to reduce and digest them. . . ."2
Stith was able to persuade the government of Virginia to make transcripts of the papers as a preservation measure (these transcripts are also in the collections of the Library of Congress) but seems not to have treated the original papers. In 1825, Thomas Jefferson, who had purchased the loose Jamestown papers as part of the library of Peyton Randolph and the two bound Court Books from the collection of William Byrd, said that "I found the leaves so rotten as often to crumble into dust on being handled; I bound them, therefore together, that they might not be unnecessarily opened; and thus have preserved them forty-seven years."3
Not all of the papers were bound, however, when they passed into the collections of the Library of Congress shortly thereafter. During the nineteenth century, a series of prominent scholars of early American history tried to persuade the federal government to publish and care for the papers, but to no avail. A memorandum written in 1901 to the Librarian of Congress by John C. Fitzpatrick, assistant chief of the Library's Manuscript Division, describes the papers as "tattered, worn with age, and rotted with mildew," and asks that the "privilege of consulting them be withheld in every case but the most exceptional one."4 Soon afterwards, the "exceptional one" was found in the person of Susan M. Kingsbury, a professor of economic history trained at Columbia University who was hired by the Library to transcribe and publish the papers. In an ambitious and painstaking project that occupied the next thirty years, Kingsbury edited the four-volume Records of the Virginia Company of London, 1606-1626 (1906-35), which transcribes both the Library's papers and many others relating to the Jamestown settlement in public and private collections in England.
Some of Jefferson's bindings were evidently taken apart during this time, and the two volumes of the Court Book were rebound into buckram-covered library-style bindings retaining only the leather title from the previous covers. In her introduction to the first volume of The Records of the Virginia Company of London, Kingsbury writes that ". . . the papers after a century in the Capitol were in a still more deplorable state in 1901 than that described by William Stith, but [now] the loose pages have been carefully and skillfully repaired. . . ."5 She was referring to the silking treatment that many though not all of the loose sheets had received at the hands of William Berwick, an expatriate Englishman and skilled manuscript restorer at the Library of Congress.
The Librarian of Congress at the time, Herbert Putnam, said of Berwick that he was "undoubtedly the foremost expert in the country and one of the leading experts of the world in work of this character."6 A number of the papers were silked between 1901 and 1906 through a technique similar to that introduced to the international library field by the Vatican Library in the late nineteenth century. The annual report of the Librarian of Congress in 1901 describes the silking process in the following manner:
The paper is first dampened . . . then dried between boards and submitted to heavy pressure. Mending is then done using handmade paper, beveling and scraping the edges. The patch is held in place with flour paste and the manuscript is then pressed again. A covering of fine silk (crepeline) is pasted on each side of the manuscript and the manuscript is pressed again and mounted for filing.7
In a later article, Berwick outlines an additional washing step that required the document to be immersed in warm water and heavily pressed before silking.8 Unfortunately, no records specifically regarding the treatment of the Virginia Company papers have been located.
It is curious that only about half the loose papers were silked; other pages remained in the precarious state described so aptly two hundred years earlier, and the Court Book volumes were not silked. Berwick died in 1920, before Kingsbury's last two volumes of Virginia Company papers were published. Because the unsilked loose sheets come from this last published group, it is certainly possible that Berwick restored the papers in groups in response to deadlines for transcription and publication. The Manuscript Division correspondence of the time refers to the overwhelming body of work to be done and the very small staff available to do it.9
Despite these efforts, the condition of the Jamestown Records evidently remained a concern. A note in the storage box by manuscript curator Thomas P. Martin, dated 1941, indicates that manuscripts were not to be sent to the Photoduplication Service for routine reproduction because of the fragility of the documents and their great value to the Library.
Thus, the Jamestown Records arrived at the Conservation Division for evaluation in 1994. The division was determined to complete the task of preserving the papers before the celebration of the four hundredth anniversary of the founding of the Jamestown settlement in 2007. Their first task was to examine the documents' physical condition.
Paper Used in the Records
Conservation staff found that the paper used in the Virginia Company Records is almost exclusively of one type. It is a fine quality writing paper, uniform in fiber distribution and relatively free of clumps and inclusions. In the undamaged central portions of a few documents, the paper is still a creamy white. Fiber analysis confirms the paper to be composed primarily of linen. The water mark is a grape cluster with initials very similar to those found in papers made in the central region of France at the end of the fifteenth century. The outside dimensions of the papers are consistent with the French Grand Raisin: 46 x 61.3 cm. Each page currently measures half of this folio-size sheet, taking into account the trimming received over the years during binding and rebinding. These findings are consistent with what is known about English importation of foreign papers, especially from France, during the first half of the seventeenth century.10
Ink Used in the Records
In contrast to the consistency of the paper, several distinct inks are evident in this set of records. Seventeenth-century writing relied almost exclusively on irongall inks.11 The appearance and subsequent testing of all the inks on the Jamestown documents bear this out.12 The inks vary in intensity and color but all are more brown than black. The color of an irongall ink is, in part, a function of variables in the original formula. Those inks that turn brown have been shown to indicate an original formulation that contains too much iron II sulfate in proportion to the gallic acid.13 Most of the ink recipes surviving from the period in which the Jamestown Records were penned contain roughly the proportions demonstrated by this Elizabethan recipe: "Take four ounces of gum arabick, beat small, two ounces of gall beat gross. One ounce of copperas, and a quart of the commings off strong ale. Put all these together and stirr them 3 or 4 times a day--about 14 dayes then strein it through a cloth."14
Clues to the proportions in the original recipe lie not only in the present color of an ink but in the degree of its deterioration. William Barrow found in his study of American colonial inks that a black color was a good indicator of an ink's destructive power on paper. He observed that those "inks which remained black are far more acidic than those which had turned brown."15
Ink preparation was considered one of the seventeenth-century housewife's duties, and most period cookbooks include two or three recipes for it. It is tempting to imagine colonial women concocting ink by adding exotic materials found in the New World such as "Musquaspenne," or bloodroot, which Captain John Smith reported was a colorant in body ornamentation highly prized by the Powhatan Indians.16 However, contemporary accounts of early life in the colonies suggest that women were preoccupied with activities more basic to survival than inkmaking and it is more likely that the inks found on this set of documents were imported with the paper. Nevertheless, the unusual ink color, discoloration, and solubility on some of the Jamestown Records sheets have prompted testing. X-ray fluorescence identified iron and calcium in all samples tested and copper and calcium in some. Spot tests confirmed the presence of iron.
Another influence on the ultimate color and aging characteristics of inks may be the container in which the ink was stored. Caniperius, the leading ink chemist of the seventeenth century, recommends storing ink in a lead container in order to deepen the color.17 The Library's Conservation Division was therefore especially excited to learn that a lead inkwell was recently unearthed at the Jamestown archeological excavation site. While no ink traces were found in the container, its recovery does suggest that the Jamestown settlers followed Caniperius's recommendations. However, Library of Congress scientists identified no lead in the six Manuscript Division documents that they analyzed.
Discoloration Patterns in the Records
The Jamestown Records display interesting discoloration patterns consistent with storage in a wet and humid environment. Changes in relative humidity enhance the diffusion of iron2+ (a water-soluble component of irongall inks), which could account for the dramatic haloing effect evident on some pages. All the papers show evidence of exposure to water in its liquid form, which caused a once-soluble component of the ink to dissolve and spread throughout the wet area generally. This displaced ink does not respond to water in the same way today, suggesting that a chemical alteration has taken place in the past three hundred years. The hard tide lines that appear along some of the wet/dry interfaces contain this once-soluble ink component as well as sizing that is now yellowed. The areas that were obviously wet are considerably softer that the central portion of the pages. In addition, advanced paper deterioration and pink stains in these areas evince previous mold growth. Ink deterioration also follows the usual patterns for irongall inks. A number of the documents have suffered breaks in the paper as a result of the ink's acidity.
Treatment of Silked Documents: Weighing the Options
Although the silking treatment administered early in the twentieth century allowed the records to be consulted for essential scholarly research, it also created a presentation that is now considered unsatisfactory. The materials used in the silking process imparted agents that accelerate aging of the paper. Objects that have been silked are usually extremely brittle and unnaturally yellowed owing in part to the alum used in the starch adhesive. Surface pH ranges are very low. Apart from the gross obliteration of paper structure, legibility is impaired by the decreased contrast between the paper and the ink as well as by the woven silk gauze, which imposes a grid-like texture. Disfiguring foxing spots also appear on the infill paper after it is pressed between metal plates during the silking process. Although on many silked objects this induced foxing is evident on the original as well as the infill paper, the Virginia Company Records are on what was once a fine quality paper (in contrast to the lesser-quality fill paper). It may be that the original quality of the paper has protected the records somewhat from this common condition.
The Manuscript Division brought these records to the attention of the Conservation Division chiefly out of concern for their obviously poor general condition and a desire to protect them as a legacy for posterity. Enhancing their accessibility to serious scholars was an additional goal. Accordingly, treatment was directed primarily toward stabilization. The pivotal question to be decided was whether to re-treat the silked documents by removing the silking, or to try to improve their condition with less invasive techniques such as housing in mylar. Arguments in favor of the less aggressive course included the objective uncertainties that attend the washing and deacidification of irongall ink documents. Leaving possible re-treatment to future generations is, in some ways, a seductive option when one considers what might go wrong. Yet the more conservative approach clearly has its own liabilities. Through the years the Conservation Division at the Library of Congress has had the opportunity to examine and treat hundreds of other silked documents and has developed certain conclusions about the implications of this treatment for aging patterns and long-range stability. These conclusions guided the ultimate decision about the treatment of the Jamestown Records.
Mylar Treatment and Other Alternatives to De-Silking
Mylar encapsulation is the principal housing option available for brittle silked documents because of the present fragility of the paper. Yet there is compelling evidence that mylar encapsulation of an acidic object accelerates degradation by acid hydrolysis.18 Double-sided documents such as the Jamestown Records are particularly vulnerable because inserting a buffering interleaf will not prevent this degradation. Non-aqueous deacidification is an unattractive option because depositing buffering salts in the complex structure of a silked object is an uncertain process.
The De-silking Option
Despite the attendant uncertainties, considerations in favor of removing silking include the likelihood of restoring silked documents to something close to their original appearance and the probability of increasing their legibility. The division has found that while re-treatment of silked documents cannot restore the original paper surface texture, some semblance of it is certainly unveiled. Legibility is reliably enhanced. The paper regains considerable flexibility. The deteriorating influence of the alum/starch adhesive is greatly minimized. There is also the opportunity of imparting some alkaline reserve during the course of this treatment.
Given the division's and the Library's collective experience, the unique set of variables presented by these objects, and the desire to return the documents to an optimal state of preservation, the decision was made to remove the silking from the Jamestown Records as part of the initiatives undertaken to preserve them.
De-silking the Jamestown Records
Generally, a silked document's response to water-based treatment can be reliably predicted by assessing its response to the silking process. Some silked documents show signs of ink sensitivity, specifically sinking, as a response to silking. The silked documents in the Jamestown Records were found to have a surface pH of 3.5-4, which is very typical of silked documents. The adhesive tested positive to alum. Treatment began with a thorough examination and spot testing of the individual sheets, silked and unsilked. While all the silked documents tested stable to water-based treatment reagents, some of the unsilked documents were very sensitive to water. Although inks which had been visually affected by the silking procedure tested stable to the water-based reagents, the fact that they had responded negatively to treatment once before was not reassuring. In addition, areas where the paper fibers have broken under the action of the acidic irongall ink are generally too weak to withstand the expansion caused by immersion into water-based solutions. While this was not a problem with the silked documents, several unsilked pages exhibited significant areas of this type of degradation. A final overarching concern was the desire to treat the collection as consistently as possible. Under the circumstances it became apparent that a treatment course involving partial water solutions would offer the safest, most effective alternative
Division staff were able to remove the silking with the aid of an enzyme solution with activity matched to the adhesive.19 Partially non-aqueous solutions (mixtures of purified water and alcohol) were used for rinsing as well as deacidification, leaving a modest alkaline reserve of 0.7 percent.20 During the treatment, Merck Indicator Strips revealed the presence of iron2+ (ferrous sulfate) ions in many of the document inks. Presumably, after deacidification treatment this compound was entirely changed to iron3+ (ferric sulfate), a more stable, non-water-soluble form. The surface pH after this phase of the treatment was typically pH 8
Repairing the De-silked Documents by Leafcasting
Conservators mended the documents with a leafcasting method, saturating them first to protect the ink. Their approach called for the documents to be resized after casting and lined using an alcohol-based adhesive (Klucel G) and a very transparent tissue called Gossamer, made of Japanese paper fibers, on one side only. This treatment is fully reversible.21
When the documents had dried, conservation staff observed several changes in them. First, the leafcasting method of repair had indeed produced structurally sound and aesthetically pleasing sheets.22 The attachment of the pulp collar to the edges of each document is an intimate one. No distortions or other adverse effects have been observed from leafcast edges on many other documents treated in a similar manner at the Library. In all cases, including that of the records, the leafcast collar has acted in concert with the document instead of pulling against or constricting its edges, as frequently occurs with traditional false margins. Second, the Gossamer tissue provided sufficient support to the weakened areas of paper damaged by mold and ink deterioration. The addition of the overall Klucel G size and the unifying element of the Gossamer tissue adds to the effect of the finished page as a unit. Third, conservators noted increased cleansing of the sheets as a result of the leafcasting treatment. This is most readily explained by the paper's exposure to water during the leafcasting process. This development obviously attests to the limits of the alcohol resist, although the often-observed phenomenon by which previous buffering procedures enhance paper cleansing may have been an additional factor. No change in the ink could be detected; indeed, increased legibility was a definite benefit of this operation. In addition, as treatment progressed, better control of the expansion of the differential deteriorated sheets proved to be another of this method's important advantages.
Treatment of Unsilked Pages
With the silked documents treated, the Conservation Division turned its attention to the unsilked pages. The division is wary of treating untreated documents and tends to determine treatment based on standards different from those applied to previously-treated materials. There is a greater likelihood of re-treating an already-treated object if the prior treatment can be shown to be deteriorating and the re-treatment proposal can be defended on the basis of improved structure or aesthetics. In contrast, conservation staff are reluctant to propose invasive treatment on objects that have not been previously or obviously treated.
Yet conservators recognized that cleansing the untreated Jamestown documents would create consistent conditions across the collection--something that had not been accomplished by the treatment undertaken in the early twentieth century. In the end, this proved to be a decisive consideration, as conservators determined that it was desirable to give the untreated documents the same alkaline reserve and sizing material that the silked documents had received in order to better equalize the aging process.
Accordingly, after the documents had been separated by ink type, extensive spot testing was performed on each one. Because many of the inks in this group were still quite soluble, the documents were spray-deacidified non-aqueously with Bookkeeper (TM) solution.23 A mylar template was cut to the exact conformation of the documents and a collar of paper pulp was cast around the template. After drying, the collar was pasted onto the documents with very dilute wheat-starch paste. The documents were then sized with Klucel G and supported with Gossamer tissue on one side. Although the attachment of leafcast collars to the edges of documents is not as satisfactory an arrangement as leafcasting into place, conservators expect that the use of minimal adhesive in the attachment and the overall lining and sizing will mitigate any dimension strains that may result.
Future Treatment of the Jamestown Records
Conservation staff gave careful consideration to the final format of the Virginia Company of London Records. Their deliberations were complicated by the curators' desire to be able to rearrange the order of the pages if subsequent research suggested a more logical arrangement. Initially, conservators proposed to encapsulate the washed and deacidified sheets in mylar and post-bind them into book format. While providing the best support to the papers themselves, however, book format presents obvious drawbacks. A post-bound, mylar-encapsulated book is heavy and awkward, and it divorces the papers completely from their physical conditions of origin. Conservation staff then suggested binding the papers into a letterbook format using some of the beautiful new laid and chain papers, modeled after early handmade papers, that the Library of Congress has developed with contemporary hand-papermakers.24 Such an approach has aesthetic appeal and sympathetically reflects the historical context in which the papers originated. It also affords the papers increased security and protection during handling.
The curator in charge of the collection has responded favorably to this proposal, but his overriding concern remains cataloging. The papers relating to the Jamestown colony present a maze of challenges to the cataloger, and the scholarship required to collate the various inventory systems into something more accessible will take enormous time. It is unlikely that an effort similar to that undertaken by Susan M. Kingsbury in the early twentieth century will be launched anytime soon. In the end, therefore, the type of letterbook binding selected at the close of this phase of conservation had to be one which could easily be disassembled should the papers need to be reorganized. In the meantime, the identification system developed by Kingsbury and recorded on the documents' individual acidic folders has been maintained.
As of this writing, despite the fact that the Conservation Division has successfully brought the individual sheets that make up the Jamestown Records to a better state of preservation, access to the papers remains limited until such time as the completed bound format can provide the needed physical protection. Thus, although one of the original objectives of the conservation project was to provide serious scholars with access to the original material, this goal has yet to be realized–a piece of unfinished business worth noting because it so clearly demonstrates the complexity of conservation projects. Conservation entails not only the examination, analysis, and treatment of collections, but addressing the broader consequences set in motion by the conservation task. Despite exhaustive planning and collaboration, conservation projects typically take on a life of their own and their implications cannot always be anticipated.
by Sylvia R. Albro and Holly H. Krueger
- Ivor Noel Hume, The Virginia Adventure (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994), 10. (Return to Text)
- Quoted in Susan Myra Kingsbury, ed., The Records of the Virginia Company of London, 1607-1626 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1906-35), 1:45. (Return to Text)
- Quoted in ibid., 1:42-43. Peyton Randolph was the son of Sir John Randolph, who according to Jefferson had borrowed the documents from the Virginia Council office in order to write a history of Virginia and died while they were in his possession. Mr. Stith, however, says that the papers were in the possession of the House of Burgesses before they came to Peyton Randolph. The Court Books came into Jefferson's hands through other avenues. They belonged to the family of William Byrd (a seventeenth-century governor of Virginia) until they were borrowed by Colonel Richard Bland, whose library Jefferson purchased. (Return to Text)
- Manuscript Division Memorandum Book, 1901. (Return to Text)
- Kingsbury, Records, 1:46. (Return to Text)
- Letter from Librarian of Congress Herbert Putnam to the Public Printer, July 1, 1920. (Return to Text)
- Report of the Librarian of Congress for the Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 1901 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1901), 262. A Library of Congress recipe from the period gives alum and arsenic as additional ingredients. (Return to Text)
- Holly H. Krueger, "The Core Collection of the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress," AIC Book and Paper Group Annual 14 (1995): 12. (Return to Text)
- In a memorandum to the Librarian in 1903, curator of manuscripts Worthington C. Ford says that the manuscript restorers are two to three years behind schedule in their work. (Return to Text)
- C. M. Briquet, Les Filigranes (Amsterdam: The Paper Publication Society, 1968), vols. 2 and 4. (Return to Text)
- William J. Barrow, "Black Writing Ink of the Colonial Period," American Archivist 11 (1948): 292. (Return to Text)
- Various ink samples were confirmed to be iron-containing with a 5 percent thiocyanate potassium solution. (Return to Text)
- Johan G. Neevel, "Phytate: A Potential Conservation Agent for the Treatment of Ink Corrosion Caused by Irongall Inks," Restaurator 16, no. 3 (1995): 144. (Return to Text)
- G. Weddell, ed., Arcana Fairfaxiana Manuscripta: A Manuscript Volume of Apothecaries' Lore and Housewifery Nearly Three Centuries Old, Used, and Partly Written by the Fairfax Family. Reproduced in Fac-simile of Handwritings. An Introduction (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Mawson, Swan, and Morgan, 1890), 4. (Return to Text)
- Barrow, 306. (Return to Text)
- Phillip Barbour, ed., The Complete Works of Captain John Smith (1580-1631) (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press for the Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia, 1986), 1:154. (Return to Text)
- Pietrus Maria Caneparius, De Atramentis Cujuscunque Generis. Opus Sanè Novum, Hactenus à Nemine Promulgatum. In Sex Descriptiones Digestum (London: J. Martin, 1660). (Return to Text)
- C. Shahani, "Accelerated Aging of Paper: Can It Really Foretell the Permanence of Paper?," Preservation Research and Testing Series 9503, Preservation Directorate, Library of Congress, 1995. (Return to Text)
- The alpha amylase used was Calbiochem #171568 with an Activity level of 1,595 AU/mg. (Return to Text)
- The magnesium bicarbonate is taken from the Library's stock solution, which is between 7 and 8-1/2 gm magnesium bicarbonate per liter. The magnesium bicarbonate is held in solution in the alcohol environment by the following method. The de-ionized water and ethyl alcohol are mixed together and refrigerated. C02 gas is bubbled through the stock magnesium bicarbonate solution. The two solutions are mixed and used immediately. Air is blocked from the bath with a plastic sheet on top. No precipitate is formed when this procedure is followed. (Return to Text)
- Hydroxy Propyl Cellulose (Klucel G) is commonly used at the Library both in the paper and in the book conservation sections. Unpublished research conducted by the Research and Testing Division on films of Klucel G under conditions simulated to predict behavior encountered in natural aging indicated it to be a very stable material. In addition to this in-house study done in the 1980s supporting the use of Klucel G in film form, conservators ordered additional testing before use with the Jamestown Records. Klucel G was brushed out onto the Gossamer tissue and subjected to humid oven aging. The positive results of this testing bolstered conservators' confidence in the material used in this setting.
Gossamer tissue was first introduced by Frank Mowery at the Folger Shakespeare Library. It is composed of 100 percent Kozo tissue and is virtually transparent when attached over media. While not appropriate for repairing tears, it is ideal for supporting paper structurally compromised by mold, insect, or ink deterioration. When Mr. Mowery ceased producing the tissue, the Library of Congress began making its own for in-house use. The fibers are broken down in a very traditional manner involving a stress-reducing pounding with wooden hammers. The fibers are then cast into sheets on the Library's leafcasting machine. While the operation is time-consuming and requires some training, the Library has found the product to be well worth the effort on a number of levels. (Return to Text)
- The paper pulp furnish was composed of 80 percent Abaca, 20 percent Sulfate fibers. The torn pieces were soaked for several days in CaOH-enhanced water before being macerated with an industrial-strength blender. Library conservators have found longer periods of soaking and blending to have a positive effect on fiber length and "castability." (Return to Text)
- Bookkeeper is a patented non-aqueous deacidification product made by Preservation Technologies, Inc. (Return to Text)
- Library of Congress book conservators Jesse Munn, Terry Wallis, Mary Wootton, and Barbara Meier-Husby developed this project in collaboration with internationally known hand-papermakers. They published their finding in the AIC BPG Annuals for 1993 and 1996. (Return to Text)