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Conservation of the Henry Clinton papers (1736-1850), Volumes 20-22

William Clements Library Adopt a Piece of History Bookplate

Conservation of the Henry Clinton papers (1736-1850), Volumes 20-22

Dr. Arthur Acton

Dr. William B. Wilcox

Special Notes About this Grouping

Volumes 20-22 feature dramatic pieces including:

  • Henry Clinton’s account of the Battle of White Plains
  • A furtive letter by William Howe written on narrow strips of paper so they could be hidden with a quill
  • Description of the Battle of Saratoga

The Henry Clinton Papers need your help. Sir Henry Clinton served under Thomas Gage and William Howe between 1775 and 1778, and was commander-in-chief of the British forces in North America from 1778 to 1782. His extensive papers offer an unparalleled view of the day-to-day operations of the British Empire in North America during the height of the Revolutionary War.

The Henry Clinton Papers are currently housed in custom boxes and folders made for the collection in the mid 20th century. Each individual manuscript is tipped onto larger, acidic heavy stock paper and enclosed in its own acidic folder. In order to digitize the collection and assure the long-term safety of the Henry Clinton Papers, the Clements Library will be undertaking a massive re-housing project.

From the Conservator, Julie Fremuth:

My work will be to de-hinge the Clinton manuscripts and prepare the collection for digitization. With careful conservation techniques, I will remove each and every manuscript from the bound volume into which it is hinged. Then, each manuscript will be put into a labelled folder and box. At this time I will not be removing the hinging tape from each manuscript or repairing tears (those are wet treatments each requiring several days to repair and dry properly), as that would slow down the process towards digitization.

Learn more about the Clinton Papers in our online exhibit Spy Letters of the American Revolution.

Damage from the acidic storage environment