Treatment and Housing
Treatment and re-housing of the collection of the 14,400 original drawings required a team of conservators working over a span of 5 years. The bulk of the conservation treatment was removal of the staples and original cover sheets from each drawing. Small edge tears and losses were mended with Japanese paper adhered with wheat starch paste. More complex treatments included extensive mending and tape removal. The most common complex treatment involved consolidation of the white-out media with methyl cellulose under magnification. After treatment, the drawings were inserted into their folders and held in place with mylar photo-corners.
Treatment of the roughs was, for the most part, confined to careful removal of the drawings from the various containers. Paper clips and rubber bands were removed. Gross accretions such as dust, chocolate crumbs and erasers were brushed off. The sketches were aligned, placed in stacks of approximately 25 and inserted into acid-free, buffered file folders. The folders were stored in file boxes, ensuring enough bulk within the box to provide support to the now vertically stored sketches. 50 of the roughs required more attention in order to provide even this most basic of stabilization. These sketches were washed, aligned and lined with Japanese tissue adhered with wheat starch paste.
Once the drawings were properly treated and housed, they were returned to the custodial division. Stored in the clean, orderly and climatically controlled environment of the Prints and Photographs Division the casual observer cannot fully appreciate the journey this pivotal collection has taken. Miraculously surviving 50 years of storage in a damp, unsecured Georgetown basement the cartoons can finally rest easy knowing their long-term survival is ensured.