by Audrey Sage
Conservator Audrey Sage was thrilled to lay her hands on the recent acquisition of the original newspaper page from the Northampton Chronicle in England from November 13, 1888. This particular newspaper page contains coverage of the murder of Mary Jane Kelly by the “infamous London serial killer known as Jack the Ripper”.
This newspaper sheet, from more than 130 years ago, was in amazingly good condition. The paper fibers were strong and due to the quality of the content, exhibited a minimal amount of acidity and brittleness. There were tears along the edges and folds. These were carefully mended with archival techniques using paper fibers and rice starch to reinforce and support the page.
Once the page was cleaned and treatment for the tears complete, a special oversized folder was constructed.
Ms. Sage placed the large document into a mylar sleeve, and this was then hand sewn into a cloth hinge within the constructed folder.
This format allows for the newspaper page to be viewed on both sides, while offering it support as well as protection from handling.
The department is very excited to be able to add this item to its collection of materials pertaining to the Jack the Ripper historical incidents. It is an important case study from several angles, including sociologically, historically, and from the aspect that these eleven unsolved murders remain a gruesome and perplexing period in the history of the Whitechapel area of London, still, to this day. To read more about how this collection is utilized by researchers and students, please read the article that is located here in this newsletter, just follow this LINK.