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Samuel Chase Manuscript Gets a New Look – Pic of the Week

Here you can see the volume before treatment with its old spine and detached board

Here you can see the volume before treatment with its old spine and detached board [Photo by Katherine Kelly]

In today’s Pic-of-the-Week post, we highlight recent work done by Katherine Kelly, a book conservator in the Book Conservation Section of the Conservation Division of the Library of Congress Preservation Directorate. Each year, the Law Library identifies items in its special collections that would benefit from conservation treatment. One of the items that the Law Library recommended for treatment during fiscal year 2016 is the volume depicted in the images that illustrate this post. It is a handwritten collection of citations to English case law bearing the bookplate of Samuel Chase (1741-1811) who signed the Declaration of Independence and who later became an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court.

Katherine identified the following points that needed attention, writing in her report: “The binding is in poor condition. The leather is severely delaminating, the joints are broken, and there are many missing and abraded areas. The paper sides are severely worn with large losses. The front board is detached and the back board is held on with one cord. The board corners are worn and delaminating. The front and back hinges are broken, leaving two conjugate leaves in the front and one in the back detached. The sewing is broken in the first section, leaving that section detached from the rest of the text block.”

Here you can can the volume after treatment with its new spine and the repaired board

Here you can can the volume after treatment with its new spine and the repaired board. [Photo by Katherine Kelly]

She also noted the following points about the text block: “The text block is in fair condition overall. The inks used to write the manuscript show damage characteristic of iron gall ink. There is some evidence of penetration into the page, but no evidence of burn through. The paper has some yellowing, staining, and embrittlement, particularly on the page edges and in the first and last leaves. There are large tears in the last gathering and some small tears throughout the text block.”

The text block treatment included repair of tears – the first gathering was guarded with acrylic toned long fiber kozo paper and wheat starch paste. Tears that crossed over text were mended with ethanol-reactivated tissue. Losses that were not over text were filled with acrylic toned long fiber kozo paper and wheat starch paste. Here and there, Katherine performed dry cleaning with a plastic eraser.

Here you can see the volume before treatment with the broken hinge and the detached first leaf

Here you can see the volume before treatment with broken hinge. [Photo by Katherine Kelly]

There were a number of loose inserts in the volume, many of them covered with contemporary handwritten notes, which Katherine placed in polyester sleeves and rehoused in paper folders labeled with their original location.

The binding treatment included repair of the hinges and endpapers with acrylic toned kozo tissue, and some sewing: Katherine created new slips by lacing 25/3 linen thread around the supports in the 1st – 4th sections and resewed the 1st – 3rd sections with 25/3 linen thread. She removed the damaged original spine mechanically and with a wheat starch paste poultice. She then lined the spine with wheat starch paste and kozo tissue, and lined the spine with overhanging heavyweight kozo tissue and PVA. Finally, she rebacked the spine with acrylic toned aerocotton and kozo tissue.

To store the handwritten inserts that she removed from the pages of the volume, she created a 4-flap enclosure. And for both the volume itself and the 4-flap enclosure, she created an attractive clam shell box depicted here.

After treatment: the hinge is repaired. The entire volume rests in a clam shell box. [Photo by Donna Sokol]

After treatment: the hinge is repaired. The entire volume rests in a clam shell box. [Photo by Donna Sokol]

Before removal of inserts [Photo by Katherine Kelly]

Before removal of inserts [Photo by Katherine Kelly]

Law Library; KD300 .C58 1800 Copy 1; British Case Law Citations [ca. 1800]

Before removal of inserts [Katherine Kelly]

Here is one of the inserts in its labeled envelope in the 4 fold enclosure. [Photo by Donna Sokol]

Here is one of the inserts in its labeled paper folder in the 4-flap enclosure. [Photo by Donna Sokol]

FALQs: Impeachment Process in Brazil

The following is a guest post by Eduardo Soares, a foreign law specialist covering Brazil and other Portuguese-speaking countries at the Law Library of Congress. Eduardo has previously published posts about the Brazilian law collection, capoeira and the law, a Law Library report on citizenship pathways and border protection, highlights of the Law Library’s collection […]

New Email Alerts and RSS Feeds on Congress.gov

Last year’s most viewed new post on In Custodia Legis was Legislation Email Alerts on Congress.gov.  The email alerts are an excellent addition to the system that allow you to track a specific piece of legislation, what a Member of Congress is sponsoring and cosponsoring, and when the next issue of the Congressional Record is available. Building on those […]

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National Archives – Pic of the Week

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Law Library Hosts ABA President Paulette Brown for Law Day

When she entered the courtroom as a young attorney, Paulette Brown said, people often presumed she was the defendant, the court reporter, or even a juror. “I was anybody but the lawyer,” said Brown, now the president of the American Bar Association (ABA), in describing the obstacles she has faced practicing in the legal profession […]