Here at the Congregational Library, we work with all kinds of manuscript collections, from personal correspondence to the official records of national organizations. One of the trickier challenges of our archivists' process is tape. While it's a great short-term solution in many situations — wrapping gifts, hanging signs for events, etc. — it is terrible for long-term preservation. If we had our druthers, every book and document in our collections that has been damaged by tape would be sent off to the ace conservators at the Northeast Document Conservation Center.
The document belongs to Barbara Comer, a Collections Management Technician at the Nashua New Hampshire Historical Society. "The baptismal certificate, dated 1899, belonged to my great-uncle Franz Fink from Austria," she explained. "He carried it on his person, folded in his wallet, all his life."
During conservation treatment at NEDCC, surface soil was reduced using dry cleaning methods, and the tape was removed using heat. Adhesive residues were reduced in a solvent bath.
You can read more details of both Ms. Comer's touching family story and the delicate conservation treatments in the full news article.