FROM ATTIC TO EXHIBIT:
NEDCC Treats 1811 Terrestrial Globe
The Northeast Document Conservation Center recently treated a rare 1811 terrestrial globe in
the Center’s paper conservation lab.
The globe is owned by the Hopkinton (NH) Historical Society (HHS), and its history is well documented. Dr. Robert O. Wilson, President of the Board of Trustees of the HHS recounts the globe’s story. “It was purchased
by Ebenezer Lerned, M.D. (1762-1831), a graduate of Harvard College and Dartmouth Medical School and the founder of the Hopkinton Academy in 1827, where it is presumed to have been used to instruct the students." Unfortunately, it was later stored in an attic for many years and became damaged by heat and rain.
The Hopkinton Historical Society's globe is one of the few in existence of this type. Its official name is lengthy: “The New American Terrestrial Globe on which the Principal Places of the Known World are Accurately
Laid Down, with the Traced Attempts of Captain Cook to Discover a Southern Continent, by James Wilson, 1811.”
James Wilson (1763-1855) was America’s first commercially successful globe maker. Born in New Hampshire, he became a lifelong resident of Bradford, Vermont. Wilson was primarily self-taught in geography, cartography, and engraving and printing techniques of globe production. His globes were known to be up-to-date and accurate as well as being beautifully crafted. (From an article in the Library of Congress Information Bulletin, September 1997, by Ronald Grim.)
The Hopkinton Historical Society’s globe arrived at NEDCC in relatively poor condition. The globe was dusty and had a dark and degraded surface coating. A cleaning test suggested that this coating was an animal glue, which was uneven and chipped off in many areas. There was also some paper loss exposing the plaster substrate. The sphere had numerous hairline cracks, giving the globe a faceted appearance. It rubbed against the horizon ring so that rotating the globe in its stand caused abrasion. The globe was also flecked with small drops of gray paint.
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The Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) is a nonprofit, regional conservation center specializing in the preservation of paper-based materials for libraries, archives, museums, and other collections-holding institutions, as well as private collections.
NEDCC's expertise includes conservation of books, documents, maps, photographs, parchment, archi-tectural plans, wallpaper, and works of art on paper.
NEDCC’s Imaging Services department specializes in high-quality digitization of visual materials. The Center’s Preservation Services department conducts general preservation assessments, presents workshops and conferences, and offers a 24-hour disaster assistance hotline. For more information on NEDCC and its services, visit www.nedcc.org.
Article by: Julie Martin, NEDCC