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It’s about time for a bath!

Posted Nov 3, 2011 Posted by One Comment

Historian Tom Hambright and Library Administrator Anne Layton Rice prepare the 1829 document for shipping.

One of Key West’s oldest  documents is finally getting a bath.  The Florida Keys History Room of the Monroe County Public Library has sent an 1829 “First of Exchange” to the Northeast Document Conservation Center (“NEDCC”) in Andover, Mass. for repair, treatment and preservation.  Known locally as the “Fleeming Check”, the document was an early form of financial exchange similar to our current day bank check.  Its front and back bear the signatures of three of Key West’s four founding fathers:  John William Charles Fleeming (aka Fleming), John Simonton and John Whitehead.  The Check, in the amount of $250 and possibly associated with Fleeming’s purchase of land, is the only known document bearing all three signatures.

The Check was exposed to humidity, creasing and atmospheric pollution for nearly 150 years before Miss Etta Patterson donated it in the mid-1960s to the History Room for safe keeping.  The NEDCC will deacidify, clean, mend and encapsulate the document.  The NEDCC is a world leader in preservation and conservation of historical documents.  It has treated the 1629 Charter of the Massachusetts Bay company, copies of the Declaration of Independence, and Babe Ruth’s personal scrapbooks.

Preservation of the Check is being funded through a specific anonymous private donation to the Friends of the Library.

Detail of engraving on 1829 Key West "Fleming Check"

Front of 1829 First of Exchange with signatures of Fleeming, Whitehead & Simonton.

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One Comment »

  • jennifer Boettcher said:

    Congratulations on an exceptional 25 years. Key West is the most
    special place Of all my duty stations. A good place to retire to I
    hope. Thank you for the Haunted Key West, I did not know these things
    when I lived there, it is very interesting. Good Luck in the future
    endeavors. Sincerely, Jennifer Boettcher