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Eugene Kellersberger Album

Adopt a Document: The Reverend Dr. Eugene R. Kellersberger's Medical Fieldbook

A page from Dr. Eugene R. Kellersberger's album after it was disbound.

Dr. Eugene R. Kellersberger (1888-1966) was a Presbyterian minister and medical missionary to the Congo from 1916 to 1953. Dr. Kellersberger founded the Bibanga Medical School and Hospital and the Bibanga Agricultural Colony for lepers, bringing about a better understanding of leprosy. At a time when many ignored the disease, he took it upon himself to visit the afflicted throughout the world, easing their plight and empathizing with their suffering. His pioneering work eventually led others to develop a cure for the disease.

Dr. Kellersberger's life as a medical missionary was difficult for many to imagine. To better share his experiences, he created a fieldbook of photographs, medical notes, and sketches depicting Congo's dramatic landscapes, community of local villages, and missionary presence, as well as the diseases plaguing the Congolese people. His work occurred against the backdrop of King Leopold's infamous colonial regime.

A view of the album's spine before conservation treatment.

After years of exposure to environmental conditions in the field, the book's pages were torn and brittle, its spine disintegrated, and its photographs yellowed and fading. At over 300 oversized pages, the fieldbook would be the largest and most complex piece the Society had ever attempted to restore.

With the help of many generous supporters, PHS was able to complete the conservation treatment of this irreplaceable item, a part of of the larger collection PHS holds on Dr. Kellersberger. We also hold many records documenting the Congo Mission.

Treatment on the album included disbinding, reattaching loose photos, mending torn photographs, and housing each page in a protective polyester sleeve and custom-made, acid-free box.

The Society is grateful for the donations that made this important conservation project possible. Thanks to our donors, the fieldbook is now available to view in its entirety via the society's digital library, Pearl

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