Student award for academic achievement, signed by Jose Lopez, S.J.,1840. Georgetown University Archives, Booth Family Center for Special Collections.
In addition to the normal deterioration of nineteenth-century paper over time, this certificate retained the adhesive residues and dark staining from long-ago pressure-sensitive tape repairs. An old patch repair on the reverse of the certificate, that was meant to reinforce and stabilize the wax seal, had been grazed by insects. Unfortunately, insect damage was common prior to properly conditioned (cool and dry) storage environments. Conservation treatments in 2015 included surface cleaning the certificate and applying a solvent to reduce the tape residues and the staining. Breaks and tears in the document were repaired with Japanese tissue supports and wheat starch paste on the reverse side, and paper losses were filled with toned Japanese paper. The remains of the certificate’s silk ribbon were consolidated with sheer crepeline overlays. You can see this item on exhibit through July, 2016 in the fifth-floor Special Collections Gallery.