Protecting the Past

 

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A few months ago, a wonderful object came into the studio. It is an early 19th-century register used to record the ear markings of livestock from Vienna Township, Ohio. Over the century-and-a-half since its creation, the volume had been rebound into a modern case binding. The original paper covers had become significantly damaged and additions of new material had been inserted. The Vienna Township Historical Society wanted to explore their options for long-term preservation of this unique part of their history.

Jamye suggested a two-fold approach. The original object would be disbound, repaired, and resewn into a more sympathetic binding structure, namely a simple paper cover. All more modern materials would be retained but housed separately from the original manuscript. In order to keep all the items together, Jamye would construct a custom-built protective enclosure.

As a final preservation measure, Jamye recommended that the entire object be digitized. The Cleveland Public Library’s Digital Hub offers free access to very high quality scanning equipment. Members of the public may use the hub privately, or by appointment they may have the free assistance of a digital technician. While the object was disbound for conservation, we were able to produce high resolution images of every page within this fascinating volume.

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The Vienna Township Historical Society has ensured not only the long-term survival of the original register, but also easier access to its contents by future researchers and residents.