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Subject: 19th century reliquary

19th century reliquary

From: Hildegard Pleva <h_pleva<-at->
Date: Tuesday, September 29, 2009
I was recently asked to take on a very unusual project. I call it a
relic 're-packaging and documentation project.' I am looking looking
for assistance in dating the elaborate decoration and preparation of
these relics supposedly of the early Christian martyrs. I would also
like some guidance regarding their preservation.

The reliquary is a 63 inch long, 14 inch high elaborate wooden box
(glass front and top) containing relics of martyrs prepared for
preservation no later than 1854. This reliquary plus an assortment
of 'shadow boxes' containing very small labeled relics is supposed
to have been brought to the US from Europe by St. John Neumann, then
Bishop of Philadelphia. They were encased beneath the altar of a
church. They were moved and damaged in a 1980s renovation project.
Now they have been moved again and a decision made to document them
in some way and repackage them. The Redemptorists who have assigned
this task to me still are not sure what they want to do with them.

I am a professional librarian with an understanding of archival
preservation but would really like to speak to some one who has
experience in this. I would also like to document all the labeled
relics, some very small and some very large. Need guidance on
deciphering labels. Would love to be able to date the reliquary by
the elaborate preparation of skulls and other large bones--maybe
even figure out where it was done.

Can you recommend those whom I could contact because of their
specific expertise?

Sr. Hildegard Magdalen Pleva, OSsR
Vocation Director
Redemptoristine Nuns of New York
PO Box 220
Esopus, New York 12429-0220
845-384-6533


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                  Conservation DistList Instance 23:10
                 Distributed: Thursday, October 1, 2009
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Received on Tuesday, 29 September, 2009

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