News

–June 23, 2020–

JCM conserves 1882 African American couple’s marriage certificate and 1800 copy of George Washington’s will

The museum has recently conserved two rare 19th century documents: an 1882 marriage certificate for an African American couple, Alicis Hart and Philips Lucas, from Kearneysville and an 1800 first-edition printed copy of George Washington’s will. Cleveland Conservation of Art on Paper, Inc., repaired, cleaned, and restored the two documents. The Calamara Fund of the Eastern West Virginia Community Foundation paid for the work.

1882 Hart-Lucas Marriage Certificate

The beautifully restored marriage certificate is rare because of its embedded tintypes of the bride and groom and its decorative coloring. Few marriage certificates from the 1880s have tintypes; even fewer have tintypes of an African American couple. Dr. Shelley Murphy, a relative of the Hart family, donated the certificate to the museum.

Before conservation:
Hart-Lucas marriage certificate
After conservation:
Hart-Lucas marriage certificate

1800 First-Edition Printed Copy of George Washington’s Will

The copy of George Washington’s will is one of fewer than five thought to have survived from the first printing. Cornelia Helbold Haden Brewer, a sixth-generation descendant of Charles Washington, donated the will to the museum after it had been in the family for generations.

Before conservation:
George Washington will
After conservation:
George Washington will