1913-1919 Ledger gets analysis from the Library of Congress
A ledger written by Oscar Emerick, an early Superintendent of Loudoun County School is getting help from the Library of Congress. The ledger covers the years 1913 to 1919, mostly when Emerick was Principal of Round Hill and then his early years as Superintendent.
Unfortunately, many pages of the ledger are covered in newsprint from the 1920’s. As a result, the underlying handwriting cannot be seen fully. From what it visible, it seems there is information on students, both African-American and white, and instructors handwritten on the pages.
Recently, the preservation laboratory at the Library of Congress obtained a camera that could help see the writing underneath the newsprint and they proved to be enthusiastic about helping at no cost with a job that would normally be cost-prohibitive for the Edwin Washington Project.
Larry Roeder took the ledger to Dr. Fenella France, head of the Preservation Research and Testing Division at the Library of Congress in January 2019. She and her staff collected data from the impacted pages using Multispectral imaging, a non-invasive technique that captures information at specific wavebands along the electromagnetic spectrum, including those beyond the visible light range. Over the next several weeks, the scientists will review the raw data and develop products that should reveal much of the hidden text through color manipulation. Volunteers are ready to transcribe the ledger so that we can do a substantive report.
The Edwin Washington Project would like to thank Dr. France and her staff, especially Meghan Wilson and Chris Bolser at the Library of Congress for their assistance.