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    Valley Forge

    National Historical Park Pennsylvania

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Headquarters' Orderly Book Conservation

Timeline will be displayed here

Preserving the HQ Orderly Book
Orderly Book Conservation 01
Beginning treatment
Conservation treatments required the dexterity of a surgeon, as sewing structures were evaluated and the delicate process of cutting each thread was undertaken so that the book could be unbound.
 
Testing the Ink 02
Inks tested for iron
The conservator also checked for the presence of iron. Most writing inks in the 18th century contained iron gall. This iron tends to eat through paper contributing to the loss of valuable information.
 
Removing Surface Dirt 03
Inks set to ensure stability
The surface dirt was removed from each page using brushes and vinyl erasers. Then the pages were sprayed with ethanol to set the inks and ensure that they did not run during the additional cleaning and stabilizing processes.
 
Documents get a bath 04
Pages bathed
This bath also increased the strength and flexibility of the paper. A second bath of calcium bicarbonate solution added an alkaline reserve that will mitigate future acidity that could destroy the book.
 
Pages Drying 05
Pages dried and mended
After washing the pages were placed on drying racks. Once dry the pages were placed in order, mended, and weights applied so that the mends dried flat.
 
Binding the Book 06
Book was bound
The sections were sewn to 4 cords using equipment and materials similar to those used by the bookbinder who originally made the notebook.
 
Repairing the Cover 07
Cover repaired
Missing pieces of the cover are repaired with pulp paper and reinforced with acrylic-toned paper so that the repair will be less noticeable to the naked eye.
 
A New Spine Cover 08
Spine cover conserved
With leaves sewn together and covers repaired, new leather was prepared to serve as the spine cover. The remaining original leather is shown to the right of the new leather.
 
Reinforced Spine 09
Spine cover reinforced
The original leather spine cover was reinforced so that it could be mounted to the new leather spine cover.
 
A Stable Spine 10
Spine cover mounted to book
The original spine cover is now in its former location while the new spine cover provides a stable hinge for the notebook.
 
Conservation Complete 11
Conservation complete
The scans and transcriptions will be available on this website within the next few months making the orders General Washington dictated available for current and future generations.
 

Did You Know?

Reconstructed soldier cabins in the winter with snow on the ground

General regiments were organized together to form a brigade in the Continental Army. General Muhlenberg's Brigade contained regiments from both Virginia and Pennsylvania.