Material Instability and Other Woes

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


We have encountered every problem in the book (no pun intended) while treating these ledgers for the Johnson County Historical Society. These two pictures of the same ledger are good examples. The structure of the book was sound. It needed a little bit of cosmetic repair and hinge repair. The inside is a different story. Almost all the pages are illegible, the ink has run and bled obscuring most of the text in the ledger.

In the front of the ledger was taped a small pamphlet. It was in relatively good shape. When it
got wet in the flood some of the dye from the orange paper transferred to the pages around it. I dry cleaned it, removed the staples and took off the tape with a heat spatula and vinyl eraser.

The tape left in the ledger I did not remove because it would have made a mess of the paper trying to scrape and melt it off. While it is not ideal to have tape in the book, as it gets older the tape will become brittle and flake away doing far less damage.