1860 Map, Conserved

The Northeast Document Conservation Center, which has very likely handled book conservation needs for all the major rare book libraries, posted a heartening report yesterday about its role in helping preserve a mid-nineteenth-century map for a local community. The Historical Society of Charlestown, New Hampshire, had a topographical map of Sullivan County, published by Smith and Morley, that was "coated with varnish, and attached to a decaying cloth backing."

The Society applied for and received two small grants from local banks. With a little publicity on its side, the Society also pulled in a few more hundred dollars from a private foundation, thus enabling it to send the map to the NEDCC for treatment. There, conservators removed the yellow varnish using ethanol and washed the paper. "The decaying cloth backing was removed before the map was lined with Japanese paper. After being mounted on linen for additional support, the map was encapsulated in transparent polyester film (Melinex®) to protect against dirt, handling, and atmospheric pollution." World-class treatment for Sullivan County!

Detail of the 1860 map.