DOYLESTOWN >> With a little over two years in office Robin Robinson has made it her mission to do for the Recorder of Deeds office and Bucks County what others couldn’t - make things interesting.
On February 11, Robinson took yet another step in this direction.
As part of an ongoing preservation project, 61 old books were sent to Kofile, the preservation company located in Essex, Vermont. The preservation of these books was made possible by a $125,000 grant received from the National Park Service in conjunction with the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).
The grant, called Save America’s Treasures, funds preservation on nationally significant historic collections.
While all of the old Recorder of Deed books hold historic value, these 61 books are extra special, said Robinson. "These books are more than just land records, they are artifacts. They have slave records, specifically, manumissions (the formal emancipation of slavery)."
In finding these records, Robinson and her staff realized that most, if not all, of these manumissions where recorded before the Civil War. The other fascinating aspect is that they believe these manumissions were recorded by Quakers, with some recording a bill of sale for the slave just prior to recording the manumission for the same slave.
It is not often history like this comes to light and Robinson wants to be sure that the appropriate people are aware of what has been found. So she personally reached out to Linda Salley, President of the African American Museum of Bucks County, once it was realized the impact these records could have for the history of Bucks County.
“I’m grateful to be a part of this, to share this history with all of Bucks County and the world,” said Salley.
Newly-elected Bucks County Commissioner Bob Harvie was also there to see these books off to Kofile. “As a history teacher for over two decades, I fully appreciate and support efforts to preserve our shared history,” said Commissioner Harvie. “I want to thank the Recorder of Deeds, Robin Robinson, and the National Park Service for securing grant funding for this important project.”
The preservation of these books will take several weeks to complete. They are expected back in the care of the Recorder of Deeds office sometime in April.