By Andrea Hall, Fall Intern, Field Book Project
There are items in the Field Book Project requiring conservation treatment so involved, that they span the terms of more than one intern. The book, “Original Labels, #1 - #15499” that Summer Conservation Intern, Tessa Gadomski wrote about in August was one of these items. The book includes over 120 pages of bird specimen labels adhered in multiple ways, each page needing different levels of treatment. It was an exciting project. As the Fall Conservation Intern on the Field Book Project, I was able to hit the ground running, using the treatment proposal that Tessa had prepared and the work she had already completed this summer. Each page was cleaned with soft sponges; the many pins and paperclips were removed and noted. Broken hinges were repaired or replaced, and any stuck labels were lifted gently.
The pins and paperclips proved a particularly interesting facet. 131 straight pins and paperclips were found throughout the book, all used to keep labels together. Straight pins aren’t actually an unusual method of keeping paper items together. Jane Austen used them to construct and edit manuscripts and modern editors are still comparing notes on the intended sequence of Walt Whitman poems based on the placement of pinholes (Whitman even used pins to bind a book!) George Washington had a massive and a bit mysterious stash of pins, too. The pins from “Original Labels, #1 - #15499” came in all shapes and sizes, some long and thin, others short and rusty. The paperclips had a lot of variety, too. I continued to save the pins and paperclips, as Tessa had done, so that the fascinating record of attachment could be saved.
|Image 1: Pins and Paperclips from “Original Labels, #1-#15499” from SIA Accession 12-485. Credit: Andrea Hall|
Don’t worry, I didn’t leave the previously pinned labels hanging! Any labels which had been attached with a pin or a paperclip were placed in specially made sleeves of polypropylene and Hollytex.
|Image 2: “Original Labels, #1-#15499” from SIA Accession 12-485. Credit: Andrea Hall|
|Image 3: “Original Labels, #1-#15499” from SIA Accession 12-485. Credit: Andrea Hall|
It was really great to get a chance to go more in depth with this treatment. This is just one (or really 131) of the many interesting things I’ve found in field books this fall. I’m looking forward to the next discovery!
We'd like to thank Andrea for all her great work this fall, and wish her the best of luck with her future endeavors.