Genealogy: To Protect and to Save

Mexboro, England. April 21, 1903. “Tuesday morning. A very nice day. Handed out 112 tracts today. Had one gospel conversion. Have been very busy this afternoon. Writing now to my wife and children. Am feeling o.k. in the gospel.” —B.Y. Mansfield

This is an excerpt from my great-grandfather’s missionary journal. Leaving small town Samaria, Idaho, he journeyed to his boyhood homeland of Sheffield, England to share his testimony of faith with the British people. The journal is falling apart.

I took the journal to my friend Chris McAfee, the head book and paper conservator for the LDS Church History Department (Salt Lake City, UT) and consulted with him about what could be done to repair the book.

smChris612He determined that the pages are in excellent condition but the spine needs to be reattached and reinforced with Japanese paper, the crash or cloth spine lining needs to be removed and replaced, and the front cover needs to be reattached. To help me get the book back to Tennessee safely, Chris generously offered to make a four-flap folder for me.

smFourFlap615I resumed reading microfilm and Chris disappeared to his lab. He returned in record time with the coziest, most beautiful four-flap ever! Now the journal will be protected from further damage until I can take it to a book conservator.




Chris watched me open and shut the enclosure and in doing so, took the opportunity to teach me something I did not know. Notice the bottom left-hand corner of the inside cover has been numbered with a “4.” He told me he numbered the pages so I would always know in which order to close the four-flap.

The bottom flap is number “1”, the top flap is number “2”, the right flap is number “3”, and the cover is “4.” By closing the top flap second, when the four-flap is set on a shelf up right, dust and water will be deflected away from the pages.

I love that. Thanks, Chris!

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