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  • November December 2017 FOCUS 1

Featured in the November/December 2017 FOCUS: Housing a Collection of John Marin Pieces

At CCAHA, we’ve noticed a trend. We’re fielding an increasing number of requests for housing-only projects—clients are bringing us their stable objects and asking that we make sure they’re framed or stored in boxes that are up to the highest housing standards.

Past Issues
A UV-photographed Facsimile

July/August 2017 | Ultraviolet (UV) light is harmful. It’s bad for our eyes, bad for our skin, and, unsurprisingly, bad for paper objects. But in certain controlled circumstances, UV light can be used for good, as a recent CCAHA project shows.

A Unique Technique: the Slant Wash

May/June 2017 | Mellon Fellow Jacinta Johnson used a unique technique—a slant wash—to treat an early 20th-century soldier's certificate. 

State Library of Pennsylvania's Nuremberg Chronicle

March/April 2017 | Published in 1493, the Nuremberg Chronicle is part Biblical paraphrase, part world history.

18th-century Family Records

January/February 2017 | Thanks to grant funding, CCAHA treated several objects that contribute to the story of German migration and the establishment of Mennonite communities in North America.


Signac's Anarchist Drawing

September/October 2016 | Artist Paul Signac's chilling 1910 drawing of a dead Algerian soldier recently came to CCAHA for treatment.

A WWI-Era Poster

July/August 2016 | This poster commemorates the actions of Privates William Henry Johnson and Needham Roberts, who were awarded France's Croix de Guerre for their heroics.

Rebinding a Rare Pentateuch

May/June 2016 | When the Rosenbach Museum & Library brought a rare 15th-century manuscript to CCAHA for a new binding, CCAHA Book Conservator Richard Homer worked to design a cover that may approximate the volume's original appearance.

Four Large Knoll Posters

March/April 2016 | In 1972, the Louvre installed a show commemorating the 25th anniversary the Knoll design firm. Over 40 years later, Knoll, Inc. brought four of the large posters that advertised the exhibition to CCAHA for treatment. 

Amos Ashanti Johnson Pastels

January/February 2016 | When two large pastels from the University of Delaware Museums came to CCAHA, conservators had to balance improving their aesthetic appearance and overall stability while minimizing risk. 


A Signed Freud Photograph

November/December 2015 | The most famous photograph of Sigmund Freud depicts the psychoanalyst standing with his signature cigar in a stark, chiaroscuro contrapposto. Perhaps fittingly for Freud, the portrait was actually taken by a relative: his son-in-law, a man named Max Halberstadt. A copy of this photograph that Freud himself signed and dated “Nov 1927” recently came to CCAHA for treatment. 

A Unique 17th-Century Bindery

September/October 2015 | Nicholas Ferrar was born to a wealthy family in London in 1592. He and his family founded the Little Gidding religious community. Along with running the household, the family members carried out various religiously-focused activities. One such task was the copying and production of books. 

Feliks Topolski's Wartime Sketches

July/August 2015 | Born in Warsaw in 1907, Feliks Topolski moved to England in 1935. Topolski is remembered as a talented draughtsman, muralist, and chronicler. He painted the 1959 Coronation murals of Buckingham Palace and ran a serialized publication,Topolski’s Chronicle, for several decades toward the end of his life. From 1940-1945, he served as an Official War Artist for Great Britain. 

Mounting Ilya Kabakov's The Short Man

May/June 2015 | Russian artist Ilya Kabakov lived through three tumultuous decades in Moscow during the height of the USSR. From the 1950s to the 1980s, his work spanned a variety of media and subjects as he fell in and out of favor with the Soviet regime. His The Short Man is a set of eight folding screens of varying sizes that presented a unique challenge to the Conservation Assistant assigned to build them an exhibition mount. 

Dalí's Playing Cards

March/April 2015 | The name Salvador Dalí often conjures up images completely removed from reality—melting clocks, spindle-legged elephants, or disembodied limbs. But a recent treatment at the Center reminded us that the works of Dalí were far more nuanced than we often think, toying with reality in different and surprising ways. 

Sharing a Rare Edition of Emma

January/February 2015 | There are six remaining copies of the “Philadelphia Emma,” which was produced in 1816 by Philadelphia publisher Mathew Carey. In celebration of the upcoming 200th anniversary of the first English and American editions of Emma, the Goucher College Library has launched a project to completely digitize their Philadelphia Emma to make it freely available on the internet.  


Creating a New Way to Display Leaves

November/December 2014 | William Heinrich Prestele was appointed the first ever staff artist of the Pomological Division of the Department of Agriculture in 1887. The grape leaves he drew posed a unique challenge when they came to the Center for treatment.  

Stabilizing Mug Shots from Eastern State Penitentiary

July/August 2014 | The second artifact on Eastern State Penitentiary's endangered artifacts list—a book containing about one thousand inmate mug shots from 1904 to 1906—recently came to CCAHA for treatment. 

Consolidating the Colorful Media of Illuminated Manuscripts

May/June 2014 | Most popular in the 1400s, handwritten illuminated manuscripts continued to be commissioned by the wealthy even after mass-produced printed alternatives appeared. Six prime examples from Bucknell University recently received treatment at CCAHA. 

The Artists' Books of Henri Matisse

March/April 2014 | It wasn’t until he was in his 60s that Henri Matisse—known for his bright paintings—began creating illustrations for artists’ books. An edition of his Pasiphaé, Chant de Minos recently came to CCAHA from the Bank of America Collection. 

Preserving Paper Lanterns, a Victorian-era Tradition

January/February 2014 | Among the first to purchase property when Mount Tabor, NJ, opened as a Methodist summer camp meeting ground in 1869 was Benjamin Foster Britten. Now, his great-granddaughter is preserving artifacts evocative of the happy months she spent there as a child in later years. 


Photos and Stereoview Cards from West of the One Hundreth Meridian

November/December 2013 | Timothy O'Sullivan's images of scenic views and ancient ruins, captured during the 1871-1874  "United States Geographical Surveys West of the One Hundredth Meridian," were among the first taken of the Southwest. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Office of History recently brought some of O'Sullivan's photographs and stereoview cards to CCAHA for treatment.

Treating Much-Used Volumes of Alexander Wilson's American Ornithology

September/October 2013 | Those who handled the much-used volumes of the State Library of Pennsylvania's American Ornithology over the past couple centuries left behind stains and grime. CCAHA was treated several volumes of the work, the first book to document the native bird species of America.

Reducing Stains on a Crayon Portrait of Eli K. Price, Founder of the Woodlands

July/August 2013 | The Woodlands cemetery in West Philadelphia looks almost the same as it did in the 1840s, when Eli K. Price planned it as a beautiful, park-like space. CCAHA is currently treating a severely stained c. 1865 crayon portrait of Price.

Uncovering details on maps by Louis XV's Royal Geographer

May/June 2013 | Louis XV was eight years old when Guillaume Delisle, Royal Geographer, became his personal geography instructor. Two years later, in 1720, Delisle presented his pupil with round manuscript maps, one of the Western Hemisphere and the other of the World, which are now receiving treatment at CCAHA. 

Treating Pennsylvania's First Constitution

March/April 2013 | Pennsylvania's first constitution, written by Benjamin Franklin (among others) in 1776, has been described as the most democratic in America. It recently traveled from the Pennsylvania State Archives in Harrisburg to CCAHA for conservation treatment.

Reducing Fixative and Retouches on Jacob Lawrence's Hiroshima Series

January/February 2013 | In his Hiroshima series, Jacob Lawrence painted eight scenes that took place at the moment that the atomic bomb dropped. The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts brought all eight paintings to CCAHA to address two main condition issues. 


Treating a Globe from Albert Einstein's Home Study

November/December 2012 | Despite his celebrity status, scientist Albert Einstein managed to enjoy a quiet life in his home in Princeton between 1933 and 1955. The Institute for Advanced Study recently brought the globe from Einstein's home study to CCAHA for conservation treatment.

"Touching Up" a Chuck Close Paper Pulp Portrait

September/October 2012 | "Touching up" a Chuck Close paper pulp portrait: When an edition of the 2007 Chuck Close portrait Janet developed a crack along the figure's eye level, CCAHA Senior Paper Conservator Soyeon Choi used a syringe to administer wheat starch paste—in this case, conservation's Botox equivalent—to mend it. 

Drawings of Philadelphia Architect Frank Furness' "Factory for Art"

July/August 2012 | In the case of Philadelphia architect Frank Furness, one can see how the buildings are the product of the man. CCAHA treated 14 drawings of his Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts building in preparation for a city-wide Furness celebration this fall. 

Unrolling a Six-foot-long, 600-year-old Arma Christie Manuscript

May/June 2012 | This Arma Christi Roll from the National Shrine of St. John Neumann arrived at CCAHA as a rolled bundle of parchment, linen, and leather measuring just five inches wide and a few inches tall.  When Paper Conservator Minah Song unrolled it for examination, she revealed a nearly six-foot-long manuscript—one of just 20 known copies of the middle English O Vernicle poem in the world and, at over 600 years of age, quite possibly the oldest.

Conservation of Print Yields One Very Unexpected Finding

March/April 2012 | With science backing them up, conservators rarely encounter an unknown variable during treatment—but one CCAHA conservator recently uncovered a surprise when she removed the lining paper from the 1801 print Philadelphia, from the Great Tree at Kensington, brought in by a private client. 

A Work Reminiscent of Candy Buttons, with a Slight Twist

January/February 2012 | Less commonplace today, the colorful sugar dots known as Candy Buttons were once a childhood staple.  Linda Brenner's "Candy Bottoms," a work reminiscent of the candy (but with a slight twist), recently arrived at CCAHA for conservation treatment.


Surveying Books from the Personal Library of the "Poet of the People"

November/December 2011 | Known as the "Poet of the People" for his ability to capture in writing the struggles of ordinary Americans, Carl Sandburg produced a wide range of critically-acclaimed works in his lifetime. CCAHA recently surveyed 2,500 volumes from Carl’s personal library at the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site. 

Honoring a Great-grandmother through Preservation of her Portrait

September/October 2011 | This issue features the story of a private collector who decided to honor her great-grandmother's memory through preservation of her portrait, a crayon enlargement completed in the late 19th century. 

Delaware Public Archives to Restore Conserved Historic Documents to their Former Home

August 2011 | Buena Vista, in New Castle, DE, was home to several prominent Delawareans, including Clayton Douglass Buck, governor and a United States senator. After receiving conservation treatment, historic documents that he displayed there -- and that now belong to the Delaware Public Archives -- will once again hang in the house. 

Preserving Fraktur, a Pennsylvania German Tradition

July 2011 | German-speaking immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania in the 18th and 19th centuries documented their religious beliefs, as well as important events in their personal lives, through decorated manuscripts called fraktur. The Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art at Ursinus College has selected 32 fraktur to receive treatment at CCAHA through a Save America's Treasures grant. 

Meet the State Hermitage Museum's (and Russia's) First Photograph Conservators

June 2011 | From June 9 to 17, CCAHA welcomed visitors from the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. Natalia Avetyan, Tatiana Sayatina, Natalia Laytar, and Evgeniia Glinka learned the basics of photograph conservation, a field that does not yet exist in Russia. Their visit is part of an initiative to establish a photograph conservation department at the Hermitage.

Conserving 200 Years of Early American History

May 2011 | The New York State Library’s collection of letters, contracts, maps, and other papers from the Manor of Rensselaerswijck documents 200 years of business transactions, daily routines, and traditions in one of America's earliest European settlements. Many manuscripts were damaged in the New York State Capitol fire of 1911. CCAHA treated many of these fire-damaged manuscripts.

Conserving Beautiful Hand-colored Lithographs from the Album Vilmorin

April 2011 | Vilmorin-Andrieux & Cie, the 19th-century seed company, was known not only for its quality product and research but for its impressive publications. Eleven plates from its celebrated Album Vilmorin, owned by the National Agricultural Library, recently received conservation treatment at CCAHA. 

A Treasured Copy of Reading the Emancipation Proclamation, Preserved

March 2011 | The 1864 engraving Reading the Emancipation Proclamation was one of few images commemorating the freedom order to focus on the reactions of freed slaves. One family brought their cherished copy to CCAHA for treatment. 

Preparing Botanical Texts for Display at Pennsylvania Hospital's Upcoming "Flower to Pharmacy" Exhibition

February 2011 | CCAHA book conservators treated and digitized nine unique botanical volumes from Pennsylvania Hospital.  The books will be featured in the exhibition "Flower to Pharmacy" at the Hospital's Historic Library in Philadelphia, PA. 

Trout Fishing in the Poconos with a 1938 Map

January 2011 | For the past 115 years, the Swiftwater Preserve fly-fishing club has been fishing the same stretch of stream in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. A 1938 hand-drawn map that details the area just received treatment in CCAHA's paper section.


Preserving the World's First Geographical Atlas

December 2010 | Abraham Ortelius's Theatrum Orbis Terrarum is considered the first geographical atlas and the most comprehensive summary of 16th century cartography. The volume, from Boston Public Library's Norman B. Leventhal Map Center, was treated by CCAHA's book section.

Preserving the Legacy of Paul Robeson

November 2010 | When Paul Robeson (1898-1976) began acting in the mid-1920s, he was one of the first black men to play roles in an overwhelmingly white theater industry. His decades-long career grew to encompass activism as well as performance. The Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection of Temple University brought a collection of Robeson's letters, writings, Broadway posters, and concert programs to CCAHA for treatment.

Conserving the Meade Album, a Civil War Vet's Life-long Project

October 2010 | The Meade Album holds almost 1,400 carte­-de-­visite portraits of all the officers officers who served in the Army of the Potomac, the major Union army  famous  for  fighting  under  General  George  G.  Meade  in  the  Battle  of  Gettysburg in 1863. The Album, the result of one Civil War veteran's life-long project to assemble photographs of all the officers in the Army of the Potomac, was brought to CCAHA by the Civil War Museum of Philadelphia.

The Adventure of Treating an Original Sherlock Holmes Manuscript

September 2010 | CCAHA's book section treated Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's original manuscript for The Adventure of the Empty House, a Sherlock Holmes story, owned by the Rosenbach Museum & Library. Doyle wrote the manuscript in three composition notebooks which were then bound together.

Conserving a Well-traveled Poster

August 2010 | CCAHA treated a 1920s large-format poster advertisement for a renowned Parisian seafood restaurant. The  poster’s  poor  condition  was  the  result  of  a  long  life  spanning  two continents.  It originally served as an advertisement for Restaurant Prunier, a  renowned  seafood  restaurant established in 1872.

Discovering Wind Cave

July 2010 | Wind  Cave,  located near Hot Springs, South Dakota, is one  of  the  world’s  longest  and  most  complex  caves. CCAHA treated the diary of Alvin McDonald, who documented his 1891 explorations of the cave.