There are few things in conservation work that excite me more than a substantial transformation of an item. When I pulled out the bundles of dingy paper from an old box, it was exciting to envision them clean, flat and arranged neatly in folders!
The three bundles were bound in groups of roughly 100 sheets using a ribbon. After removing the ribbons, I dry-cleaned the pages using eraser bits and a vulcanized rubber sponge. The pages were then washed in deionized water and flattened in job presses.
These items are part of the A. A. Humphreys collection and, as a fan of printing history, I found them especially interesting to work with. Proof sheets were printed as drafts to be revised for final printing. These sheets contain not only edits, revisions and marks by the proofreader, but I was excited to see the printer’s fingerprints and the use of dingbats and excess type to fill in spaces.
Out of curiosity, I pulled the bound version of the 1864 printing of the Memoirs of HSP to see what revisions were made.