A Mud Record

We believe that much of the damage evident in the older civil court suit records resulted from pre-air conditioning days at the court house, when windows were left open and soot from a variety of sources came in and settled on the records in their open pigeonholes.

The record shown here from 1860 has a soiled outer wrapper (the wrapper is itself one of the documents filed in the case). In many instances, inside documents are fairly clean. Forcing stacks of such records into small pigeonholes also caused damage to the old, brittle paper--such damage is also visible in this document's frayed edges.

Some of our well used records (pre-Civil War Senator John Slidell's succession, for example) are literally in pieces from unfolding and refolding by previous generations of unsupervised users.