View Full Version : Ledger Preservation

08-16-2006, 05:53 PM
I need some help.
For my 20th birthday,my grandmother gave me an amazing gift.It was the ledger that was in my ggg-grandfather's store.He had a general store near Gaines Crossroads,VA,and seemed to have supplied part of the Cofederate army.It was used partically as a family diary,and even has a small part of a play written inside it.The last entry was in 1935.My great grandmother took it and placed it in a drawer.After she passed,my aunts were cleaning her house out.When they found this book,they wanted to throw it away.Luckily,my grandmother hide it,and now I have it in my possession.
I need to preserve it.I was wondering if anyone knows of a place I can go to in the Lexington Ky-Knoxville TN area who could help me?I have it in a large mail envelope,but want to preserve it even better,not only for it Civil War history,but also it's importance in my family history.If you know of someone of credit or a museum who could help me,please e-mail me their contact info at cullen.smith@unionky.edu .I don't want to loose this piece of my family's history,so any help would be appreciated.
Cullen Smith
P.S.If I can get it copied down on a disk,I'll try to post it on the site if anyone wishes,or send y'all an individual copy.

08-16-2006, 06:15 PM
You need a conservator who specializes in books and manuscripts. Being from New York, I cannot recommend one in your area, but I would talk to museums, colleges, and/or book dealers to see what they say.

Choosing and Working With a Conservator:


University of Tennesee Book Doctor:


Good luck.

08-16-2006, 08:09 PM

Get it out of the mail folder. Acid from the envelope can harm it. Is it bound? If so, that should help. Store in acid-free box in a cool, dry area. This will prolong its life

08-16-2006, 08:16 PM
You might check with the University of KY publishing folks on campus. They could probably steer you in the right direction, or even be that source..

08-16-2006, 09:58 PM

The National Archives has a lot of resources online. Check this page for starters:


If you want to digitally photograph portions of the ledger pertaining to "our era", you could post them on a web page somewheres and they might prove helpful to someone else.

I know Mike and Virginia Mescher have done a ton of work transcribing country store ledgers and getting them online. Might want to contact them over on the Civilian Forum.


aka Stickbug

08-17-2006, 12:30 PM

Being a trained archivist by vocation, I can tell you there is a difference between conservation and preservation. Unless the ledger has active mold or is fallling a part, you do not need to contact a conservator. Preservation is fairly simple. First, get it out of the acidic manila envelope it is in now. You need to keep it in an acid-free storage box, which you can purchase from several sources:
Gaylord at Gaylord.com
Hollinger Corporation at www.hollingercorp.com
Archival Products at archival.com
Light Impressions at www.lightimpressionsDirect.com

Keep the ledger out of direct sunlight and flourescent light.
Keep it in an environment of about 40 % RH and 68 degrees temperature. Don't store it in an attic (too hot and too dry) or a basement (to damp). It should last you many generations.:D