Duke Libraries is digitizing our collection of four autochrome lumières from the Semans family papers and they recently came to conservation for pre-imaging review. Autochromes are an early color photographic process. Our autochromes depict Mary Duke Biddle and Sarah P. Duke and date to about 1910. The color in autochromes lumières is uniquely produced with a [...]

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My most recent project in the conservation lab has been a set of 32 newspapers, issues of the Charleston Courier from 1815 to 1851.  Some time in the past, they had been damaged by water, mold, insects, and dirt.  All of them had tears, and many also had large losses and were exceedingly [...]

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Some of our recent interesting conservation projects have involved housing.  Not only do we repair damaged books and paper items in the conservation lab, but we also make many boxes and enclosures to house them, and occasionally our box-making expertise is called upon for rather unusual items.

For example, [...]

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I’ll soon be meeting with Conservation staff to discuss the preservation issues surrounding a few collections I’ve cataloged recently, including this one, a scrapbook I felt I had to catalog before it absolutely fell to pieces.

Nan Rothholz began this scrapbook during World War II, when she served as a member of the National Jewish [...]

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In the Lab: Whitmaniana

On September 16, 2013 By

Recently our next-door neighbors in the Digital Production Center (DPC) had a large project digitizing volumes of Walt Whitman manuscript material from the Trent Collection of Whitmaniana. The digital images are headed for the online Walt Whitman Archive, in part for a digitized collection of Whitman’s marginalia, the notations [...]

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My latest conservation project has been one involving chemicals and special equipment, doing something that we conservators face far too often—tape removal. But fortunately, our lab is well equipped with tools and materials specifically for that purpose.

In September there will be a new exhibit at the Nasher Museum of Art on [...]

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This delightful manuscript item came to conservation for some minor repairs and housing.  It is an eighteenth-century card game with a sheet of instructions describing itself as “The Mad Dog, or Take Care of Yourself: A Company Play with coloured Plates on 12 Cards in a Paper Case.”

The faces of the cards [...]

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Conservation is nearing the end of a project that we have been working on since 2009, the broadside collection.  In addition to broadsides, this collection includes thousands of posters, handbills, maps, diplomas, and a variety of paper ephemera.  We in the conservation department have been coordinating with the Digital Production Center (DPC) to [...]

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Boxy Lady

On September 27, 2012 By

Figuring out suitable storage for historical artifacts in a collection is a daily challenge for archivists in the Rubenstein Library’s Technical Services Dept. Our goal is to provide easy access to the artifacts while protecting them in a safe and secure manner. Many times we can manage this with the standard boxes and padding materials [...]

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Two big rehousing projects have been underway in the conservation lab for several months now.  One, the papyrus project, has been mentioned in the conservation department’s own blog, Preservation Underground.

Duke’s papyri collection is one of the largest in the country with approximately 1400 items, each housed between sheets [...]

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