October 4, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The 1924 Parchment Scroll unearthed at Memorial Park, (Jacksonville, FL), surprises preservation and paper conservation experts by unveiling yet another, smaller Parchment Scroll with more names in calligraphy
Jacksonville, FL – Paper conservators working on a parchment scroll unearthed last week from in front of the 1924 sculpture “Spiritualized Life” in Jacksonville’s Memorial Park have been surprised that a second parchment scroll has been found inside the scroll believed to have the names of 1,220 Floridians who died during World War One.
Starr Cox, director of Archaeological Conservation, St. Augustine Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program, and Ann Seibert, who retired in 2016 as deputy director, Preservation Programs, for the National Archives and previously worked in paper preservation for the Library folded inside of Congress, discovered the second smaller parchment folded inside the larger parchment Wednesday. Both parchments appear to have names beautifully written in calligraphy using India ink. No work was done on the parchments Thursday in order to allow them to dry.
Preservation work will resume from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, October 5, at the St. Augustine Lighthouse Lab, 81 Lighthouse Ave., St. Augustine.
R.B. Rosenburg of Clayton State University, who has been researching the Florida World War I dead and has now found more than 1,550 names from various sources, will discuss his research from 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 10, at the Garden Club of Jacksonville, 1005 Riverside Ave (no charge). All the names will soon be available on www.MemParkJax.org.
Memorial Park which opened in 1924 as a World War One memorial located on the St. Johns River in the Riverside neighborhood of Jacksonville was the vision of Rotarian George Hardee. On Nov. 12, 1918, the day after an armistice ending World War One was signed. A citizens committee was formed to raise funds, and on Dec. 25, 1924, the park opened. A page in the opening program states that a parchment scroll onto which was inscribed “in India ink” 1,220 names of the Florida Fallen, military men and women, was put into a lead box and soldered shut; then it was put into a copper box and soldered shut. The copper box was carefully opened on Thursday, Sept. 27 at Jacksonville’s Museum of Science and History by members of the Jacksonville Fire & Rescue Department along with Siebert, the paper conservator recently retired the U.S. National Archives. Due to rust found in the top corner the box, the work was immediately halted, and the box was taken to the Archaeological Maritime Lab, St. Augustine Lighthouse. Ms. Seibert and Ms. Cox subsequently opened the lead box was subsequently opened to reveal a folded parchment scroll revealing names beautifully written using calligraphy in “India ink.” A few pieces of the scroll stuck onto the inside of the lead box were carefully removed. The scroll was carefully put into position with conservator paper to begin the slow drying process.
Media is requested to call Michele with your name prior to check in at the St. Augustine Lighthouse to access the Lab (81 Lighthouse Ave. or use 100 Red Cox Rd. for GPS), St. Augustine, FL 32080.
About Memorial Park and the Memorial Park Association
Memorial Park is located at 1620 Riverside Ave., between Margaret Street and Memorial Park Drive in Riverside near the Five Points area of Jacksonville, Fla. Established in 1986, the Memorial Park Association is a nonprofit charitable organization serving its mission to enhance, promote and preserve Memorial Park as the premier historic park in the City of Jacksonville.
Designed by the famed Olmsted Brothers and dedicated on Dec. 25, 1924, it is the only park in the state dedicated to the 1,220 Floridians who lost their lives in service during World War I. In 2012, the Memorial Park Association initiated major planning efforts to restore and rehabilitate Memorial Park to its original grandeur, culminating in the development of a viable master plan that will serve as the foundation for continued restoration efforts. Memorial Park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is also designated a WWI Centennial Memorial by the United States World War One Centennial Commission.