Poet at Work: Walt Whitman Notebooks 1850s -1860s

The Conservation of the Whitman Notebooks

Adapted from the Library of Congress Gazette, March 24, 1995
With exception of the first photograph by LC's Photoduplication Service, these photographs were taken by Merrilee Love Oliver.

The four Walt Whitman notebooks before restoration begins
enlarge image icon  The four Walt Whitman notebooks before restoration begins.
one of Whitman's leather-bound notebooks
enlarge image icon  One of the leather-bound notebooks had to be taken apart before the pages could be scanned safely. Typical of Whitman's notebooks, this one had some pages sliced out and others glued in. Some literary detective work will go into reordering some loose pages that were misplaced inside the back cover.
detail of removal of the original sewing thread from one of Whitman's notebooks
enlarge image icon  It is necessary to remove the original sewing thread as part of the disbinding process in order to conserve LC #80 in the Library of Congress Conservation Office.
detail of folio supported by spun-bonded polyester
enlarge image icon  Each folio, supported by a piece of spun-bonded polyester, is placed in a water bath to cleanse the paper.