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Seton Hall University

In The Walsh Library: Notes On The State Of Virginia By Thomas Jefferson  

Thomas JeffersonOne need not venture far to literally touch history first-hand. The Archives and Special Collections Center in the University Libraries contain a wealth of significant pieces that tell the stories that shaped our country and the world. A recently restored 1787 edition of Thomas Jefferson's Notes on the State of Virginia is now on display and readily available for any student, academic or history aficionado who has a desire to get closely acquainted with one of our greatest founding fathers.

This was the first English-language edition of the text that was made widely available. (Its very first printing in 1785 was a small run of only 200 copies, which Jefferson distributed himself to friends and colleagues.) Notes on the State of Virginia was the only one of Jefferson's books to be published in his lifetime, under his supervision. The copy held by the Archives and Special Collections Center still contains the fold-out maps and tables, which were frequently removed from this type of work in the past and are rarely found intact.

While the book is overall well preserved, at 230 years old it was in need of some conservation treatment in order to make it stable enough for handling and display. Issues such as desiccated leather covers, poorly affixed black cloth tape as binding and multiple tears and creases to the fold-out map were addressed through restoration work by the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts (CCAHA) in Philadelphia.

Using a variety of techniques to correct the condition issues while preserving as much of the original materials as possible, Conservators at CCAHA successfully repaired the book in a manner that retains the original character while greatly improving its stability.

Among the many other exhibits and collections at the Archives and Special Collections Center, notable are The Newark Uprising of 1967 – An Exhibit Overview and Resource Leads that chronicles the historic civil unrest and resulting riots in Newark, N.J.; Women of Setonia 1937 – Ever Forward, marking the 80th anniversary since women first attended lectures or taught courses at Seton Hall; and I Fioretti Di S. Francesco, a 1926 copy of a collection of readings about St. Francis, compiled by an unknown author in the 14th century featuring illustrations and covers created by Italian Art Nouveau artist Duilio Cambellotti.

The treasures of the past are given new life through the Archives and Special Collections Center in the University Libraries. Do not miss the opportunity to explore and learn from them while you are on campus.

Find out more about the Archives and Special Collections Center here.

Categories: Arts and Culture

For more information, please contact:

  • Sebastian Derry
  • (973) 761-9005
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