Paper Treatments

Programme of Organization

Washing, de-acidification, mending, and custom enclosure

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Treatment Report

Date: Novemberr 24, 2009

Owner/Custodian: Office of Secretary Clough

Address: Smithsonian Institution

Title/Subject/Description: Programme of Organization

Creator: Smithsonian Institution Board of Directors

Date of production: 1847

Place of production: Washington, DC

Approximate dimensions (hxw): 28.6cm x 39.2cm

Conservator: Beth Antoine


The object is a single folio of machine-made wove paper with letterpress printing on all four pages. The paper is medium weight, slightly textured, and beige (1) in color. The text is printed with black ink, and a fairly deep printing impression remains.


The item is in very good condition.


The document is lightly soiled overall, especially on the first page, and there is minor foxing throughout the paper. The first page is darker in color than the others, likely caused by light damage during a previous display. There is a brown discoloration at the upper right corner of the first page, which extends through the paper to the verso and onto the facing page. This discoloration could be from an acid migration from a previous enclosure or fastener. A horizontal crease across the middle of all four pages remains from having been folded in half. There are three tears, each approximately 5mm long, at the edges and the middle of the horizontal fold. There are also several small, tight creases and a few larger folds near all corners. Pages two and three exhibit ink offset from the facing page, and page four exhibits the ink offset of another document that must have been stored adjacent to it at one time.

Printing Ink

The printing ink is dark black and in excellent condition.


The graphite annotation is in good condition.

Factors influencing treatment

The owner would like to be able to safely store and handle the object in his office.

Anticipated results of treatment

The document will be stabilized and placed in an enclosure that will allow easy access, while protecting it from handling and environmental conditions.

Treatment Proposal

  1. Surface clean overall with vinyl erasure crumbs and/or soot sponge.
  2. Humidify overall.
  3. Wash and de-acidify as needed in re-calcified de-ionized water.
  4. Mend tears using papers and adhesives such as wheat starch paste.
  5. Create custom enclosure to protect the document from handling and environmental conditions.
  6. Final photography and treatment report will be written.

Treatment Performed

  1. The object was documented with digital photography before during and after treatment.(3 hrs)
  2. Surface cleaning: The document was gently surface cleaned using a hake brush, soot sponge, and vinyl erasure crumbs.(1 hr)
  3. Pre-washing: The paper was gently humidified in a chamber and then sprayed out with 80:20 Calcite water/ ethanol solution with a Dahlia sprayer. It was then immersed in two consecutive 30 minute baths of the same solution, draining and blotting dry after each bath. The object was dried between Hollytex, blotter, and wool felts overnight, after changing the blotters three times hourly.(3 hrs)
  4. De-acidification: The object was immersed in a bath of saturated calcium bicarbonate solution for 30 minutes after spraying out with calcite water with a Dahlia sprayer. It was air dried on a screen between tensioned Hollytex supports for light restraint for three days.(2 hrs)
  5. Humidification and Flattening: The document was gently humidified in a chamber for two hours and dried between Hollytex, blotter, and wool felts overnight, after changing the blotters three times hourly.(1 hr)
  6. Mending: Tears were mended with toned re-moistenable tissue prepared with wheat starch paste and Methylcellulose and activated with de-ionized water. Locally weighted until dry.(1 hour)
  7. Prepped materials for making enclosure.(1 hr)
  8. Encapsulation: Constructed Mylar enclosure to be inserted into binding. Mylar was creased using an ultrasonic welder and folded to fit the folio. Edges were welded closed and flaps were stiffened by welding blotter into Mylar pockets.(3 hrs)
  9. Enclosure: The enclosure binding was constructed of 4-ply mat board with 20-point folder stock adhered at the edges to function as pockets for the insertion of the Mylar encapsulation. The case was covered in teal blue Cialux paper-backed book cloth, and laminated mat board covered in decorative cloth was adhered to the inside covers as a decorative pastedown. All boards were laminated with Permalife paper to avoid warping from having adhesive on only one side, and 60:40 Jade PVA/ Methyl cellulose was used as the adhesive for all parts of the binding.(3 hrs)
  10. Labeling: The binding was labeled on the spine as well as the back inside cover using printed Permalife paper and adhered with Jade PVA.(1 hr)

Total Treatment Time: 19 hours

Condition after treatment

The object is in very good condition and is well protected from handling damage as well as the fluctuating environmental conditions of an office climate. The paper has been brightened by the removal of dirt and acids by surface cleaning and washing, and its flexibility has been significantly increased through washing and de-acidification.

Materials Used

Mylar; 4-ply mat board; Permalife paper; 20 point folder stock; teal blue cialux paper-backed book cloth; decorative blue and gray fabric; blotter; Jade 403 PVA, Bookmakers; methyl cellulose, A4M, Bookmakers, 2004; ethanol, absolute 200 proof, 99.5+%, ACS reagent, Acros Organics, Fisher, 2009; calcium carbonate, 99+% ACS reagent, Acros Organics, Fisher, 2009; CO2 cartridges; Hollytex; vinyl eraser crumbs, Staedtler Mars, coarse and fine, William Minter Bookbinding & Conservation, Inc., 2004; and remoistenable tissue toned with acrylic paints and prepared with wheat starch paste and methyl cellulose.