Finding Freedom on the Library shelves

Read about the controversial book Finding Freedom: How Death Row Broke and Opened My Heart by Jarvis Jay Masters, published in 1997 in limited release, and learn about the program through which the Library acquired his book, re-released in 2020. Masters was arrested in 1981 for armed robbery and sent to San Quentin State Prison, where he remains today, sentenced to death for a different crime he says he did not commit.

Conservation Treatment of a WWI Panoramic Photograph, Scenes from the Nelson W. Jordan family papers

Conservation Treatment of a WWI Panoramic Photograph, a guest post by Alisha Chipman, Senior Photograph Conservator in the Conservation Division at the Library of Congress. This panorama is part of the Nelson W. Jordan family papers held by the Manuscripts Division. Nelson W. Jordan (1842-1922) was born enslaved in Albermarle County, Virginia.

Preservation Meets the Web

The Preservation Directorate is in the process of a web redesign and content project for the Preservation staff intranet and public internet sites. As the program and communications intern, Alanah Richardson has conducted informational interviews with staff from all four Preservation Divisions to assess priorities for the redesign. After conducting these interviews, a survey for Preservation’s professional societies was created, intended to gage audience reception of the Preservation website.

Pandemic-era Testing for a New Exhibit Takes a Highly Trained (and Masked!) Village

Staff at the Library of Congress love to showcase the collections with the public. As exhibitions are being planned , the Conservation Division (CD) and Preservation Research and Testing Division (PRTD) have been collaborating to assess the items selected for display. As part of this process, staff in CD typically review every item in an exhibition to determine how to safely display it. This review includes evaluating possible treatments, the kinds of mounts or cradles for display, and various ways that lighting might affect the item.

Preserving Evidence of Use: The Conservation of a Teaching Collection of Medieval Manuscript Fragments

Prior to the rise of printing, medieval libraries were filled with handwritten, manuscript books and documents. Many of those items no longer exist in their original form; some were thrown away when their contents became outdated or no longer useful, others were discarded and replaced with printed books. But some were taken apart, and their covers and pages were repurposed. Some of these pages, which are called fragments, can be found in the collections of The Library of Congress. This post is about a project to conserve these fragments.

Meet the new Collections Management Division Chief: Cathy Martyniak

On November 8th, 2021 the Preservation Directorate welcomed a new Chief of the Collections Management Division (CMD). Cathleen (“Cathy”) L. Martyniak joined us from the other side of the country, moving to the greater Washington DC area from California. According to the Director for Preservation, Jake Nadal, “she will manage a Division that provides essential […]

What Have We to Do with Any Thing but Love?

This is a guest post written by Meghan Wilson, a Preservation Science Specialist in the Preservation Researching and Testing Division. Meghan runs PRTD’s multispectral imaging system, often unveiling the invisible within the Library’s collection. Amidst the Revolution, Alexander Hamilton sought solace in his love for Elizabeth Schuyler. Their correspondence is filled with moments of fondness, […]

Performing Quality Review of Digital Images

This is a guest post written by Katie Daughtry, Digital Library Technician in the Preservation Services Division. The Reformatting Projects Section (RPS) in the Preservation Services Division reformats collection materials in order to preserve the information found in at-risk materials and to allow access by researchers. General Collections books that are crumbling and contain highly […]

A look at John Feely, Nineteenth Century Book Stamp Engraver

This post examines the work of nineteenth century book stamp engraver, John Feely. During the latter half of the 19th century, book publishers in Britain and the United States began to hire artists to design book covers. Advances in technology allowed for more affordable manufacturing of books and book cloth, so decorative bindings became more prevalent in the commercial market. Many examples of Feely’s highly stylized engraved book covers can be found in the General Collection at the Library of Congress.