TSLAC Conservation recently performed treatment on an 1825 travelogue, The Modern Traveler: a Popular Description, Geographical, Historical, and Topographical of the Various Countries of the Globe: Mexico and Guatemala, by Josiah Conder. The small volume (15 x 9.5 cm) was initially selected for a short-term exhibit and then for more thorough treatment.
Volume with fold-out map.
The volume was an appealing exhibit item given its small, fold-out map of Mexico. Unfortunately, both the map and the front board of the volume were detached. Due to the informal and short-term nature of the initial exhibit, condition issues were initially addressed by creating a temporary support from archival matboard for the open front cover and map.
Volume with reattached board.
After the exhibit, a more permanent solution was sought. The detached map and adjoining leaf were re-hinged into the volume with Japanese tissue. The front board was then reattached with Japanese tissue toned to match the covering leather. This volume is now stable for patron use and for storage in the stacks.
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In the lab in May is Pressler’s Map of Texas from 1867. Charles Pressler was a noted draftsman and cartographer who immigrated to Texas from Prussia. He created well-known Texas maps while working with land empresario Jacob de Cordova and with the Texas General Land Office.
Pressler’s Map of Texas is a pocket map, which is the 19th century version of the Rand McNally road map one might have carried in a car’s glove box prior to GPS systems. Pocket maps are generally large, hand-colored documents that fold down into a small, textile-covered case that is stamped with gold foil and other decorative elements.
Pressler’s Map of Texas, an 1867 pocket map.
Because repeated folding can damage fragile paper, conservators often remove pocket maps from their cases and flatten them for future storage and use. While this treatment is usually the most responsible course of action, it detracts somewhat from the item’s artifactual value. After treatment, the map is quite physically different.
In this case, we encountered a unique circumstance: there are actually two copies of this item in our collection. It so happens that the other copy has already been removed from its case and flattened. Since the flattened copy will be the primary access copy, this created an unusual opportunity to preserve a pocket map in its original format.
First, creases and wrinkles received local humidification and flattening to help the item fold more efficiently. Then, existing tears at fold lines were mended with wide strips of Japanese tissue and wheat starch paste.
Mending tears at fold lines.
The map was carefully folded back into its case and the front board (detached) was reattached with toned moriki tissue. Because there is another access copy, this pocket map has been returned to its original format.
- Repaired case with map folded inside.
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