After the disappearance of Sir John Franklin in 1845 his wife, Lady Jane Franklin, was inundated with requests for copies of his signature. She responded by cutting out his signatures from letters he’d sent and posting these to the grateful collectors. The damage this did is immediately obvious in this example, a letter Sir John wrote to his sister, Hannah Booth, in 1833:
The severity of the damage however only becomes apparent when you view the letter on a light box:
All the sharp cuts show where a knife went through the paper – we can’t be sure these slashes were made when the signature was removed, but as they don’t occur on any of the other letters it’s reasonable to assume the two are linked.
The letter has now been repaired and is ready for one of our volunteers to read.