In the historic winter storm impacting Texas and much of the US this week, many of us have encountered water disasters. Burst pipes and thawing ice can pose serious damage to family treasures. Remember to lift your valued keepsakes up off the floor to minimize water damage. Even a few inches of elevation can make the difference between preservation and loss.
In Spring 2021, I’m pleased to perform conservation treatment on a late-19th century photograph of the Ellis County Courthouse, designed by James Riely Gordon. This item comes to us from the Alexander Architectural Archives here at UT Austin. The Ellis County Courthouse was a signature achievement in Gordon’s career designing Texas county courthouses. Construction required two million bricks, “160 car loads of Texas granite, 100 car loads of Pecos red sandstone, used in trimming the building, and 14 cars of iron”1.
The Alexander Architectural Archives seeks stabilization for this photograph, which has high use for scholarship, historic preservation, and display. The first step in treatment is detailed examination that will inform decision-making. The item consists of a silver gelatin print mounted to backing board. While the photo is in good condition, the backing board is acidic, with cracks and losses typical of backing boards of this era.
Stay tuned for more on the rationale and techniques that go into this treatment.
1Meister, Chris (2011). James Riely Gordon: His Courthouses and Other Public Architecture. Lubbock, TX: Texas Tech University Press. p. 130.