As noted above, Dodge was a meticulous record-keeper during his tenure as superintendent, and many written reports of the restoration efforts he spearheaded are held in the Archives of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association.
So, the question becomes, why did Dodge also leave notes hidden inside the Mansion? Perhaps it was Dodge’s way of safeguarding important information for posterity.
“Scribing information directly on material used in a repair permanently ties that information to the work, right where it occured,” Spurry explains.
The practice is not atypical in preservation. At Mount Vernon, when carpenters need to replace deteriorated wood in the Mansion or outbuildings, the new wood is marked with a copper tag stamped with the year of installation. Likewise, if a windowpane is replaced, a corner of the new pane is etched with the year of its installation.