Local Records :: Conservation Services Default :: Dred Scott Conservation Intro :: Dred Scott Treatment 

Conservation of the Dred Scott Papers

Original Documents

In November 1999, at the request of the St. Louis Circuit Court, the documents from the original 1846 case were brought to the Office of the Secretary of State for conservation treatment. The Archives Division has the state's only publicly-funded conservation laboratory, which treats the most significant documents from the State Archives and other government offices in Missouri.

The following pages describe the conservation treatment of the Dred Scott papers. After treatment, the papers were returned to the St. Louis Circuit Court. All the documents in the case have been digitized by Washington University and are available at http://digital.wustl.edu/dredscott/

Before Docratty

Most of the documents had been treated before, probably in the 1930s under the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Sheets of thin tissue had been adhered to both sides of the documents, with thicker paper patches applied to areas of weakness and loss. The adhesive used was probably a starch paste, and proved to be soluble in water. In addition, most of the documents had paper labels with identifying information applied over the tissue.