This assortment of papers and photographs touches on subjects that generally or specifically describe the establishment and earliest operations of the Museum's conservation laboratory, as well as some of the collaborative projects of Henri Marceau and David Rosen. The variety of documentation suggests that the material probably served as Marceau's working file on the nascent laboratory rather than the formal records of a department. Most of the material is filed under one of the two general topics: "reference" and "technical study photographs." The first, assigned during processing, groups together documentation of various equipment, supplies, conservation practices and materials, scientific methods and commercial laboratories. Folders are subtitled accordingly. Material consists primarily of brochures, vendor catalogs, and correspondence as well as a few reports and clippings. Either Marceau or Rosen assigned the term "technical studies" to the group of photographs that comprise the latter set of files referenced above. Most of the prints were probably the work of Rosen since they are mounted similarly to those in the second series. The photographs illustrate different stages in the conservation or examination of a painting as well as details, such as an artist's signature, one of the elements studied to determine authenticity. Backs of painted panels are also well documented. Photographs depict panel backs with and without cradles--an old conservation practice that contemporary restorers were assailing--as well as their alternative method of screwing in aluminum supports. The two folders entitled "Unidentified" also may be Rosen's photographic handiwork. The contact prints made from the original rolls of films document what appears to be early installations of the John G. Johnson Collection, the conservation laboratory and works of art undergoing restoration or examination. The other folder contains personal photographs of what appear to be vacation and other casual shots. One of the individuals in several of the images most likely is Rosen.
Other subjects include "Education," which consists of materials regarding various seminars, conferences or courses on the practice of conservation. The proposals for what would be the Conservation Center of New York University's Institute of Fine Arts as well as for the reorganization of the Department of Conservation at the Fogg Museum of Art are also included here since both programs offered training and research in addition to conservation services. This series also includes documentation of a few professional affiliations, filed by organizational name. Of note is the International Institute for the Conservation of Museum Objects, an international group in which Marceau and Rosen participated as fellows. The Museum's conservation program was financed through regular contributions from the funds for the Wilstach, Elkins and Johnson collections. The "Funding" folders consist primarily of Marceau's correspondence with the directors of those funds. Conservator's yearly reports are also included. The "Object" files refer to some of the works of art that Marceau and/or Rosen examined or conserved for the Museum or for other museums or private collectors. The Museum documentation consists of correspondence and brief summaries of the restoration work performed. None of the reports referred to in the correspondence exist in these files. Correspondence documenting restoration work to the John G. Johnson Collection remains in that collection's curatorial records, identified as "Conservation" files. During the 1930s, the conservation laboratory of Harvard University's Fogg Art Museum performed much of the early restoration to those objects. The evaluations of works owned by others are also documented primarily through correspondence, although a few reports are also included. "Writings" document some of the articles and lectures by Marceau and Rosen on the subjects of conservation and authenticity and the use of scientific methods. While there are typescripts for most of the writings, some are documented solely with the prints used as figure illustrations. Slides that appear to relate to any of the lectures or articles remain in the "Lantern slides" subseries of the "Works of art" series and are cross-referenced at the folder level. "Writings" also includes a report prepared by the Museum's conservator, Theodor Siegl. Whether it was published is uncertain.