This is the start of Preservation Week*, and we wanted to highlight one of our most recent efforts to ensure our materials stay as healthy as possible.
The clothing book** of the Third Regiment, Rhode Island Heavy Artillery is one of a number of Civil War ledgers held by the Historical Society, and it documents one of the essential, but generally overlooked, elements of waging a war: making sure that soldiers have pants and shirts and everything else they need to fight.
Years of use had worn the volume tremendously: the red-rotting spine was no longer intact, making it a difficult volume for researchers to use. But thanks to a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, we were able to send the clothing book to the conservators at the Northeast Document Conservation Center.
The $3,000 conservation job brought the volume back to a condition that will make it much more useful to researchers and will keep it healthy for years to come.
Here are a few images of the process:
* Or Preservation Month, if you prefer.
**Third Regiment, Rhode Island Heavy Artillery
Volume 32. Clothing book, Company A.
August 1861 – September 1865
Cols. Nathaniel W. Brown, Edwin Metcalf, Charles R. Brayton.
Served at Pocotaligo, Morris Island, Fort Wagner, Petersburg, etc.
RIHS Accession #1947.32.17, gift of the National Archives