We recently announced a gift from Newcombe C. Baker III, Class of 1974, and his family, who donated his great-grandfather Spencer Ervin’s death mask. The material just returned from our conservation lab and we thought it might be interesting to show how this generous gift has been processed, making it ready for future researchers.
Lindsey Hobbs, Collections Conservator for Rare Books & Special Collections, had an acid-free custom box built to house all the parts to this gift together in one place. The box was designed with a drop-down side for easy access to the material inside. Special packing was created to cushion and separate the plaster mask from the original wood carrying case. Finally, individual boxes were built to house each of the extra plaster parts that came with Mr. Ervin’s death mask.
The mask will join the collection of life and death masks formed by Laurence Hutton (1843-1904). To see the other faces in this collection, take a look at the website built by John Delaney: http://library.princeton.edu/libraries/firestone/rbsc/aids/C0770/