Montana Immigration Document from 1894

This family document of Montana issued Immigration papers from 1894 had been stored with the papers folded. Creases formed that caused these areas in the paper to become very fragile. Substances of candy, shellac, and glue were found across the document. What likely happened was that these substances found their way onto the document at various times, and later, with water damage, these substances moved, pooled, and concentrated in the same areas, represented by the darkest spots in the photos. While difficult to remove, these substances tell a wonderful and rich history and give a glimpse into what the immigration process was like. Acid stains had also led to the deterioration of the paper quality.

Select Chemistry baths helped soften the paper and the glue that held them together. With careful scalpel work and water baths we were able to separate the pages. De-acidification neutralized the acid stains and lifted their discoloration. In-fill with paper of like quality mended the areas of loss, and the small detached pieces were reincorporated with an archival glue.

Before and After

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