On April 19, 1776, Reverend Jonas Clarke gave a sermon “to commemorate the murder, blood-shed and Commencement of Hostilities, between Great-Britain and America” begun at the Battle of Lexington exactly one year before. Could he possibly have known, or even imagined, the importance that we would place on the handwritten manuscript of this sermon nearly 250 years later?
In 1846, a daguerreotype, the earliest form of photography, was taken of the first steam train traveling from Lexington to Boston. Would this photographer have realized the rarity of this image, or the historical significance that this steam train would come to have on the town of Lexington and the region as a whole?
Loring Muzzey, a lifelong Lexington resident, created an extensive scrapbook of his experiences in the Civil War from 1861 to 1865. Would he have appreciated that this would be an invaluable resource to future generations?
Though the individuals referenced above likely did not recognize the importance of their creations, the fact remains that these items, and others like them, have an intrinsic value to historians, scholars, and residents of Lexington and the nation. Thus, the manuscript, daguerreotype, and scrapbook mentioned above are just a few of the items that Lexington Historical Society has made a concerted effort to conserve, preserve, and restore for future generations.
At the Society, we have a long list of items that meet the necessary criteria for conservation work by specialists, and we make every effort to make this a priority. To that end, we have introduced an annual Conservation Evening, where members of the community are asked to donate toward specific items that we have designated as in need of immediate attention. This year, we raised money towards the conservation of four tavern ledgers and day books dating to the late 18th and early 19th centuries from Buckman and Munroe Taverns. Through the generous donations of many patrons, we have raised enough funds to complete the work on the two most costly books and are continuing to raise money to conserve the remaining two. If you are interested in helping us achieve this goal, or if you’re simply interested in learning about the other conservation projects that we have undertaken in the last several years, you can do so by visiting this section of our website.
The conservation of the ledgers will be completed by Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) in Andover, MA, and the Society works with them quite often, as they specialize exclusively in treating paper-based collections, such as maps, photographs, books, and manuscripts. They also have a wonderful Imaging Services department, which provides us with high resolution digital images of documents that might be difficult to photograph or scan. The Society only works with premier conservators for all our conservation needs, including: Carmichael Art Conservation in Bedford, MA for treating works of fine art; EverPresent in Newton, MA for digitizing audio and visual media; Trefler’s in Needham, MA for full service restoration of wooden furniture, porcelain, ceramics, silver, and other fine collectibles; and Windsor Conservation in Dover, MA for textile conservation.
-Elizabeth Mubarek, Archives Manager
Featuring the voices of Lexington Historical Society permanent staff and occasional guest authors.