return to the home page
return to the home page login
Return to the about page
go to the search pagego to the about pagego to the collaborators pagego to the questions pagego to the resources pagego to your myResearch page
Condition of the Records
The greatest threat to the St. Louis Circuit Court's records has come from the storage conditions.  In their history, spanning more than 200 years, they have been stored in the various court buildings which long pre-dated the advent of air-conditioning.  Thus, they have been subjected to dirt, industrial/urban pollution from coal-based heating and the internal combustion engine, and extremes of temperature and humidity.  Like most court records, they were tri-folded for storage in metal till drawers.
Most of the paper is fragile; some of it is brittle, probably due to acid formation or desiccation.  Iron gall ink has further weakened the paper, sometimes eating through it.  Most sheets have some tears, and many have broken along the fold lines.  There are heavy accumulations of surface dirt, especially along the top and outer edges.  Fortunately, much of the collection has benefited from "benign neglect."  There are few tape repairs, no lamination, and no paper clips, staples, or rubber bands.  It is mostly in original order and remarkably complete.
Use is the secondary cause of damage.  Documents that have been consulted show tears and breaks.  Often-consulted documents, record books, and indices have heavy surface dirt in places, bindings are broken, and some tape repairs have been applied.  Ironically, the most high-profile documents have sustained the greatest damage.  In years long past, employees have applied adhesive tape to some of the most important documents.  While this treatment was applied in an effort to protect the documents, current knowledge shows us that those efforts - however well intentioned - have caused further damage.
Return to The Records
This bundle contains documents relating to one court case. Case files were commonly tri-folded and stored in till drawers during the 19th and 20th centuries.
This bundle contains documents relating to one court case. Case files were commonly tri-folded and stored in till drawers during the 19th and 20th centuries.
Weakened along the fold lines, this tri-folded document has lost valuable portions of the text.
Weakened along the fold lines, this tri-folded document has lost valuable portions of the text.