Wednesday, September 5, 2012

i cleaned this

Yesterday at work I cleaned part of this book. It's a record book from meetings of the Fed (Federal?) Czech Groups in Cedar Rapids. It was damaged in the 2008 flooding and is just one of literally thousands of damaged books that we've been working on cleaning in the UI Conservation Lab.

The first page of this book, as you can see, was really dirty. That line of white-ish matter on the left was the residue of folded computer paper that got stuck to the page in the flood. I had to scrape the dirt off with a paper knife and use a PVOH sponge and water to wipe the rest of the dirt off. Since the paper is older (the records begin in 1936) it is actually less pulpy and holds up better to cleaning than newer books.

Here that same page is, after 45 minutes of cleaning. Look! There are words on that page? Did you know? I had no idea that was hidden under all that dirt.
Anyway, kind of exciting. It's days like that, where I feel like I've made a noticeable difference, that I don't mind the smell of flood damaged materials. At least, not as much...


heidi.elton1 said...

Wow what a difference! i'm impressed with your abilities. Who knew that such an improvement was possible for such a damaged page.

Autumn said...

This is truly amazing!

I have been thinking about this the last few weeks because I have been trying to find a copy of drafting numbers/records for both of my grandfathers. They both were in Normandy in WW2, but apparently all of the records burned in St. Louis. It made me really sad I wouldn't be able to track their journey through Europe.

I'm glad people like you can preserve things like this for others. It's really a great service.