As we approach the 100th anniversary of America’s entry into World War I, April 6, 1917, TSLAC Conservation has worked with several WWI items. The two WWI Memorial Posters for Sgt. James Young (1918) are part of the collection at the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center in Liberty, TX. These halftone lithographic prints on machine-made, clay-coated paper appear to have been commercially produced with customizable text to honor a departed loved one. The posters had significant tears previously repaired with pressure-sensitive tape. During treatment, the tape was removed mechanically and with heat. The acrylic-based adhesive was further reduced with a crepe eraser. The exposed tears were then mended with thin strips of Japanese tissue and reversible wheat starch paste. Light inpainting conceals abrasion at the tear site.
Further preparation has taken place as part of TSLAC’s exhibit Texans Take to the Trenches: The Lone Star State and the Great War, opening April 3, 2017. “A Message Calling for War with the Imperial German Government” (1917) is an oversize broadside declaring America’s entry into the war. Measuring 61 x 47 cm, the broadside features black, red, and metallic gold ink on machine-made paper. The primary challenge for this item was to support it during vertical display. To achieve this, the item was fully encapsulated in archival plastic. Stabilizer bars of acid-free, corrugated board were then attached at the head and tail of the packet. The item will hang from nylon monofilament attached to the stabilizer bar. Encapsulation is a fully reversible, archives-safe process that seals a plastic packet around a document on all sides. It differs from lamination, a non-archival and often irreversible process, in which plastic is melted into a document.
The public is invited to TSLAC’s exhibit opening event on April 6, 2017. The event will feature the reading of messages and stories from WWI soldiers and their families. For more information: https://www.tsl.texas.gov/news/2017/trenches