Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Spring 2002 Newsletter

Caring for the Collections: A Stitch in Time

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, detail,The Battle of Marathon manuscript, 1817. Ransom Center Collections.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, detail,The Battle of
Marathon manuscript, 1817.
Ransom Center Collections.

Two holograph manuscripts, 1817 and 1819 versions of The Battle of Marathon, a well-known poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861), are presently undergoing repair in the conservation department. Some damage to the manuscripts has occurred because of the unusual sewing of the gatherings with a variety of common threads and yarns. The sewing structure indicates someone familiar with sewing, but less familiar with sewing book sections. In addition, text changes written on paper overlays were sewn with similar threads or pinned into the manuscript. The sewing may be Barrett Browning's own. We cannot be certain of this; however the threads and yarns used are consistent with the materials common in Barrett Browning's era. This detail nonetheless forms an impression of a poet's simple solution using available materials.  

Stephanie Watkins
Head of Paper Conservation


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