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Home » Adopt a Piece of History » Conservation of the Henry Clinton papers (September 9, 1778-November 26, 1778), Volumes 41-46

Conservation of the Henry Clinton papers (September 9, 1778-November 26, 1778), Volumes 41-46

William Clements Library Adopt a Piece of History Bookplate

Conservation of the Henry Clinton papers (September 9, 1778-November 26, 1778), Volumes 41-46

Art Acton

Dr. William B. Wilcox

We are seeking contributors to help offset the costs of unhinging and re-boxing approximately 11,600 manuscripts in 232 volumes of the Henry Clinton Papers. A donation of $2,000 will support the unhinging and re-housing of 12 volumes of the Clinton Papers.

Special Notes About this Grouping

The Henry Clinton Papers are exceptionally rich in their documentation of both high military strategy as well as on-the-ground experiences during the Revolution. In Volumes 41-46, researchers will encounter:

Correspondence with spies, like this September 15, 1778 letter by “Rusticus” who negotiated the terms of his cooperation to justify the possibility of “violent risque of my Life and forfeiture of my Estate” should he be discovered

A copy of the Articles of Capitulation following the Battle of Wyoming in July 1778.

Accounts of Baylor’s Massacre, where British troops (likely aided by Loyalist information) surprised American forces in September 1778.

Drafts of proclamations that show how Henry Clinton finessed his thinking.

And even a bill for wild fowl and squirrels shot for Henry Clinton’s dining pleasure.

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