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Newbie!

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  • tanzer@aol.com
    Hello, All! I admit, I know little about the Civil War outside of Lee s campaigns (those have always been a passion!). Well, we all know about the big stuff
    Message 1 of 10 , Oct 2, 2000
      Hello, All!

      I admit, I know little about the Civil War outside of Lee's campaigns
      (those have always been a passion!). Well, we all know about the big
      stuff like Lookout Mountain and Atlanta, but when it comes to the
      details ... I really should be more conversant with the western
      campaigns, after all that's where family was involved, so I'm looking
      forward to lurking and learning.

      One question, probably off-topic ... I have a bunch of letters still
      in their envelopes in my possession, written by a cousin's boyfriend,
      as he was on the march through (Tennessee?). No, he didn't make it
      home :( . My grandmother had them until recently, and just kept them
      in a plastic baggie with a twist-tie.

      Does anyone have experience with old correspondence? What is the
      best way to care for these letters and preserve them? I am in the
      process of transcribing them before they fade (most are very legible,
      but one or two are already mostly lost), and I'm trying to not touch
      them directly, keep them out of the light, etc.

      Thanks so much for any advice you can give!
      Michelle in Wisconsin
    • hvonbork@aol.com
      Dear Michelle: My suggestion would be to contact the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond directly and you will find their expertise invaluable in preserving
      Message 2 of 10 , Oct 2, 2000
        Dear Michelle:
        My suggestion would be to contact the Museum of the Confederacy in
        Richmond directly and you will find their expertise invaluable in preserving
        those treasured items.
        Yr obt svt,
        Jack
      • hvonbork@aol.com
        Dear Michelle: My suggestion would be to contact the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond directly and you will find their expertise invaluable in preserving
        Message 3 of 10 , Oct 2, 2000
          Dear Michelle:
          My suggestion would be to contact the Museum of the Confederacy in
          Richmond directly and you will find their expertise invaluable in preserving
          those treasured items.
          Yr obt svt,
          Jack
        • Wayne Oaks
          Michelle, Although a reputable museum regarding relics of the War of Northern Aggression should be able to provide you with information, many local (e.g.
          Message 4 of 10 , Oct 2, 2000
            Michelle,

            Although a "reputable" museum regarding relics of the War of Northern
            Aggression should be able to provide you with information, many local (e.g.
            state or below) museums with display interests of that period or before
            should have someone on staff or avenue for queries to provide you with
            information protect your family's correspondence.

            One other thing I might add is to minimize exposure to excessive moisture.

            Your Obedient Servant
            Wayne Oaks ( aka radngatr)

            ----- Original Message -----
            From: <tanzer@...>
            To: <civilwarwest@egroups.com>
            Sent: 02 October, 2000 14:41
            Subject: [civilwarwest] Newbie!


            > Hello, All!
            >
            > I admit, I know little about the Civil War outside of Lee's campaigns
            > (those have always been a passion!). Well, we all know about the big
            > stuff like Lookout Mountain and Atlanta, but when it comes to the
            > details ... I really should be more conversant with the western
            > campaigns, after all that's where family was involved, so I'm looking
            > forward to lurking and learning.
            >
            > One question, probably off-topic ... I have a bunch of letters still
            > in their envelopes in my possession, written by a cousin's boyfriend,
            > as he was on the march through (Tennessee?). No, he didn't make it
            > home :( . My grandmother had them until recently, and just kept them
            > in a plastic baggie with a twist-tie.
            >
            > Does anyone have experience with old correspondence? What is the
            > best way to care for these letters and preserve them? I am in the
            > process of transcribing them before they fade (most are very legible,
            > but one or two are already mostly lost), and I'm trying to not touch
            > them directly, keep them out of the light, etc.
            >
            > Thanks so much for any advice you can give!
            > Michelle in Wisconsin
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
          • Wayne Oaks
            Michelle, Although a reputable museum regarding relics of the War of Northern Aggression should be able to provide you with information, many local (e.g.
            Message 5 of 10 , Oct 2, 2000
              Michelle,

              Although a "reputable" museum regarding relics of the War of Northern
              Aggression should be able to provide you with information, many local (e.g.
              state or below) museums with display interests of that period or before
              should have someone on staff or avenue for queries to provide you with
              information protect your family's correspondence.

              One other thing I might add is to minimize exposure to excessive moisture.

              Your Obedient Servant
              Wayne Oaks ( aka radngatr)

              ----- Original Message -----
              From: <tanzer@...>
              To: <civilwarwest@egroups.com>
              Sent: 02 October, 2000 14:41
              Subject: [civilwarwest] Newbie!


              > Hello, All!
              >
              > I admit, I know little about the Civil War outside of Lee's campaigns
              > (those have always been a passion!). Well, we all know about the big
              > stuff like Lookout Mountain and Atlanta, but when it comes to the
              > details ... I really should be more conversant with the western
              > campaigns, after all that's where family was involved, so I'm looking
              > forward to lurking and learning.
              >
              > One question, probably off-topic ... I have a bunch of letters still
              > in their envelopes in my possession, written by a cousin's boyfriend,
              > as he was on the march through (Tennessee?). No, he didn't make it
              > home :( . My grandmother had them until recently, and just kept them
              > in a plastic baggie with a twist-tie.
              >
              > Does anyone have experience with old correspondence? What is the
              > best way to care for these letters and preserve them? I am in the
              > process of transcribing them before they fade (most are very legible,
              > but one or two are already mostly lost), and I'm trying to not touch
              > them directly, keep them out of the light, etc.
              >
              > Thanks so much for any advice you can give!
              > Michelle in Wisconsin
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
            • L. A. Chambliss
              Dear Michelle, Actually the matter is not really all that wildly complicated. After all, if they survived all that exposure to baggies and twist-ties they
              Message 6 of 10 , Oct 2, 2000
                Dear Michelle,

                Actually the matter is not really all that wildly complicated. After
                all, if they survived all that exposure to baggies and twist-ties they
                must be pretty sturdy things! Paper in those days was still largely
                made of fiber (cotton rags) rather than wood pulp as is used today.

                The easiest way to go is to find a good stamp dealer or shop. They deal
                with old and wildly valuable paper on a daily basis and have the
                equipment to do so safely. The great enemies are (as already mentioned)
                light, moisture, and acid.

                Sources of acid are modern-day paper and cardboard, and also your nasty,
                dirty fingers. No offense is intended there...even a surgeon prepped to
                go into the operating room has fingers that should not touch old paper.
                The human body just oozes things that do not get along with paper
                fibers. Stamp dealers use tongs to touch stamps, but archivists get thin
                cotton gloves which are easier to use with larger pieces of paper. The
                local library may be willing to slip you an old pair if you talk nicely
                to them.

                Talk to the stamp dealer....you need a set of cover (envelope) holders
                and sheet holders. It would be best to unfold the letters once, put them
                in the sheet holders (1 page per holder), then store them flat in the
                future. In a pinch, the bags they use to store comic books would
                probably work perfectly well. "Acid free" are the magic words here.

                Keep each letter and its respective cover together of course; there is
                a whole history to be found in noting where the letter was written and
                comparing that to where it was eventually mailed from. I have seen a
                letter written by a lady here in West Tennessee to her sister in
                Charleston SC. As West TN was then in Union hands, she had to get her
                pastor to hand-carry the letter for her. He was going to a church
                conference in Savannah and had a pass to get through the lines for this
                purpose, whereas mail could not be sent (legally) from Union to
                Confederacy or vice versa.

                At any rate, you might want to have the stamp dealer give you an
                appraisal on these letters while you are at it. Aside from the
                inestimable family value these letters have, they stand a good chance of
                being of considerable monetary value as well. (Especially if they have
                Confederate stamps on them. Those are so valuable that a great many of
                them you see offered for sale are complete fakes. Federal stamps used on
                Confederate covers are very hot as well.) After you get them
                transcribed and properly stored you might want to consider putting them
                in a safe-deposit box to avoid loss to fire or theft.

                For the ones which are faded or fading out, try darkening the room and
                shining a flashlight or something at the paper from the side, rather
                than from directly above. Sometimes this will "bring out" the letters as
                you can see the indentation where the pen or pencil pressed on the
                paper, rather than the faded ink itself. If that fails, then it is time
                to start calling historical societies, college libraries, archives of
                any sort, etc.

                Best of luck with your project, sounds like you have a real treasure
                there. Apologies to the group for rambling on at such length. :-)

                Laurie Chambliss

                Civil War Interactive
                www.civilwarinteractive.com

                tanzer@... wrote:
                >
                > Hello, All!
                >
                > I admit, I know little about the Civil War outside of Lee's campaigns
                > (those have always been a passion!). Well, we all know about the big
                > stuff like Lookout Mountain and Atlanta, but when it comes to the
                > details ... I really should be more conversant with the western
                > campaigns, after all that's where family was involved, so I'm looking
                > forward to lurking and learning.
                >
                > One question, probably off-topic ... I have a bunch of letters still
                > in their envelopes in my possession, written by a cousin's boyfriend,
                > as he was on the march through (Tennessee?). No, he didn't make it
                > home :( . My grandmother had them until recently, and just kept them
                > in a plastic baggie with a twist-tie.
                >
                > Does anyone have experience with old correspondence? What is the
                > best way to care for these letters and preserve them? I am in the
                > process of transcribing them before they fade (most are very legible,
                > but one or two are already mostly lost), and I'm trying to not touch
                > them directly, keep them out of the light, etc.
                >
                > Thanks so much for any advice you can give!
                > Michelle in Wisconsin
              • L. A. Chambliss
                Dear Michelle, Actually the matter is not really all that wildly complicated. After all, if they survived all that exposure to baggies and twist-ties they
                Message 7 of 10 , Oct 2, 2000
                  Dear Michelle,

                  Actually the matter is not really all that wildly complicated. After
                  all, if they survived all that exposure to baggies and twist-ties they
                  must be pretty sturdy things! Paper in those days was still largely
                  made of fiber (cotton rags) rather than wood pulp as is used today.

                  The easiest way to go is to find a good stamp dealer or shop. They deal
                  with old and wildly valuable paper on a daily basis and have the
                  equipment to do so safely. The great enemies are (as already mentioned)
                  light, moisture, and acid.

                  Sources of acid are modern-day paper and cardboard, and also your nasty,
                  dirty fingers. No offense is intended there...even a surgeon prepped to
                  go into the operating room has fingers that should not touch old paper.
                  The human body just oozes things that do not get along with paper
                  fibers. Stamp dealers use tongs to touch stamps, but archivists get thin
                  cotton gloves which are easier to use with larger pieces of paper. The
                  local library may be willing to slip you an old pair if you talk nicely
                  to them.

                  Talk to the stamp dealer....you need a set of cover (envelope) holders
                  and sheet holders. It would be best to unfold the letters once, put them
                  in the sheet holders (1 page per holder), then store them flat in the
                  future. In a pinch, the bags they use to store comic books would
                  probably work perfectly well. "Acid free" are the magic words here.

                  Keep each letter and its respective cover together of course; there is
                  a whole history to be found in noting where the letter was written and
                  comparing that to where it was eventually mailed from. I have seen a
                  letter written by a lady here in West Tennessee to her sister in
                  Charleston SC. As West TN was then in Union hands, she had to get her
                  pastor to hand-carry the letter for her. He was going to a church
                  conference in Savannah and had a pass to get through the lines for this
                  purpose, whereas mail could not be sent (legally) from Union to
                  Confederacy or vice versa.

                  At any rate, you might want to have the stamp dealer give you an
                  appraisal on these letters while you are at it. Aside from the
                  inestimable family value these letters have, they stand a good chance of
                  being of considerable monetary value as well. (Especially if they have
                  Confederate stamps on them. Those are so valuable that a great many of
                  them you see offered for sale are complete fakes. Federal stamps used on
                  Confederate covers are very hot as well.) After you get them
                  transcribed and properly stored you might want to consider putting them
                  in a safe-deposit box to avoid loss to fire or theft.

                  For the ones which are faded or fading out, try darkening the room and
                  shining a flashlight or something at the paper from the side, rather
                  than from directly above. Sometimes this will "bring out" the letters as
                  you can see the indentation where the pen or pencil pressed on the
                  paper, rather than the faded ink itself. If that fails, then it is time
                  to start calling historical societies, college libraries, archives of
                  any sort, etc.

                  Best of luck with your project, sounds like you have a real treasure
                  there. Apologies to the group for rambling on at such length. :-)

                  Laurie Chambliss

                  Civil War Interactive
                  www.civilwarinteractive.com

                  tanzer@... wrote:
                  >
                  > Hello, All!
                  >
                  > I admit, I know little about the Civil War outside of Lee's campaigns
                  > (those have always been a passion!). Well, we all know about the big
                  > stuff like Lookout Mountain and Atlanta, but when it comes to the
                  > details ... I really should be more conversant with the western
                  > campaigns, after all that's where family was involved, so I'm looking
                  > forward to lurking and learning.
                  >
                  > One question, probably off-topic ... I have a bunch of letters still
                  > in their envelopes in my possession, written by a cousin's boyfriend,
                  > as he was on the march through (Tennessee?). No, he didn't make it
                  > home :( . My grandmother had them until recently, and just kept them
                  > in a plastic baggie with a twist-tie.
                  >
                  > Does anyone have experience with old correspondence? What is the
                  > best way to care for these letters and preserve them? I am in the
                  > process of transcribing them before they fade (most are very legible,
                  > but one or two are already mostly lost), and I'm trying to not touch
                  > them directly, keep them out of the light, etc.
                  >
                  > Thanks so much for any advice you can give!
                  > Michelle in Wisconsin
                • Ray Elliott
                  ... After ... they ... today. ... deal ... mentioned) ... nasty, ... prepped to ... paper. ... thin ... The ... nicely ... holders ... them ... the ... here.
                  Message 8 of 10 , Oct 2, 2000
                    --- In civilwarwest@egroups.com, "L. A. Chambliss" <xanthipp@u...>
                    wrote:
                    > Dear Michelle,
                    >
                    > Actually the matter is not really all that wildly complicated.
                    After
                    > all, if they survived all that exposure to baggies and twist-ties
                    they
                    > must be pretty sturdy things! Paper in those days was still largely
                    > made of fiber (cotton rags) rather than wood pulp as is used
                    today.
                    >
                    > The easiest way to go is to find a good stamp dealer or shop. They
                    deal
                    > with old and wildly valuable paper on a daily basis and have the
                    > equipment to do so safely. The great enemies are (as already
                    mentioned)
                    > light, moisture, and acid.
                    >
                    > Sources of acid are modern-day paper and cardboard, and also your
                    nasty,
                    > dirty fingers. No offense is intended there...even a surgeon
                    prepped to
                    > go into the operating room has fingers that should not touch old
                    paper.
                    > The human body just oozes things that do not get along with paper
                    > fibers. Stamp dealers use tongs to touch stamps, but archivists get
                    thin
                    > cotton gloves which are easier to use with larger pieces of paper.
                    The
                    > local library may be willing to slip you an old pair if you talk
                    nicely
                    > to them.
                    >
                    > Talk to the stamp dealer....you need a set of cover (envelope)
                    holders
                    > and sheet holders. It would be best to unfold the letters once, put
                    them
                    > in the sheet holders (1 page per holder), then store them flat in
                    the
                    > future. In a pinch, the bags they use to store comic books would
                    > probably work perfectly well. "Acid free" are the magic words
                    here.
                    >
                    > Keep each letter and its respective cover together of course;
                    there is
                    > a whole history to be found in noting where the letter was written
                    and
                    > comparing that to where it was eventually mailed from. I have seen
                    a
                    > letter written by a lady here in West Tennessee to her sister in
                    > Charleston SC. As West TN was then in Union hands, she had to get
                    her
                    > pastor to hand-carry the letter for her. He was going to a church
                    > conference in Savannah and had a pass to get through the lines for
                    this
                    > purpose, whereas mail could not be sent (legally) from Union to
                    > Confederacy or vice versa.
                    >
                    > At any rate, you might want to have the stamp dealer give you an
                    > appraisal on these letters while you are at it. Aside from the
                    > inestimable family value these letters have, they stand a good
                    chance of
                    > being of considerable monetary value as well. (Especially if they
                    have
                    > Confederate stamps on them. Those are so valuable that a great many
                    of
                    > them you see offered for sale are complete fakes. Federal stamps
                    used on
                    > Confederate covers are very hot as well.) After you get them
                    > transcribed and properly stored you might want to consider putting
                    them
                    > in a safe-deposit box to avoid loss to fire or theft.
                    >
                    > For the ones which are faded or fading out, try darkening the room
                    and
                    > shining a flashlight or something at the paper from the side, rather
                    > than from directly above. Sometimes this will "bring out" the
                    letters as
                    > you can see the indentation where the pen or pencil pressed on the
                    > paper, rather than the faded ink itself. If that fails, then it is
                    time
                    > to start calling historical societies, college libraries, archives
                    of
                    > any sort, etc.

                    Thanks for tip with the flashlight. A couple of weeks ago while I was
                    in Tennesse for my Dads funeral we came across an old family bible
                    circa 1839. Some of the writing had turned brown and was very faded
                    and was very difficult to read.

                    As soon as I read your post I grabbed a flash light and brought the
                    bible out...your advice was right on the mark, I could read what was
                    written.

                    Please do not worry about rambling, I very much enjoyed it

                    Thank you
                    Ray


                    >
                    > Best of luck with your project, sounds like you have a real treasure
                    > there. Apologies to the group for rambling on at such length. :-)
                    >
                    > Laurie Chambliss
                    >
                    > Civil War Interactive
                    > www.civilwarinteractive.com
                    >
                    > tanzer@a... wrote:
                    > >
                    > > Hello, All!
                    > >
                    > > I admit, I know little about the Civil War outside of Lee's
                    campaigns
                    > > (those have always been a passion!). Well, we all know about the
                    big
                    > > stuff like Lookout Mountain and Atlanta, but when it comes to the
                    > > details ... I really should be more conversant with the western
                    > > campaigns, after all that's where family was involved, so I'm
                    looking
                    > > forward to lurking and learning.
                    > >
                    > > One question, probably off-topic ... I have a bunch of letters
                    still
                    > > in their envelopes in my possession, written by a cousin's
                    boyfriend,
                    > > as he was on the march through (Tennessee?). No, he didn't make
                    it
                    > > home :( . My grandmother had them until recently, and just kept
                    them
                    > > in a plastic baggie with a twist-tie.
                    > >
                    > > Does anyone have experience with old correspondence? What is the
                    > > best way to care for these letters and preserve them? I am in the
                    > > process of transcribing them before they fade (most are very
                    legible,
                    > > but one or two are already mostly lost), and I'm trying to not
                    touch
                    > > them directly, keep them out of the light, etc.
                    > >
                    > > Thanks so much for any advice you can give!
                    > > Michelle in Wisconsin
                  • Ray Elliott
                    ... After ... they ... today. ... deal ... mentioned) ... nasty, ... prepped to ... paper. ... thin ... The ... nicely ... holders ... them ... the ... here.
                    Message 9 of 10 , Oct 2, 2000
                      --- In civilwarwest@egroups.com, "L. A. Chambliss" <xanthipp@u...>
                      wrote:
                      > Dear Michelle,
                      >
                      > Actually the matter is not really all that wildly complicated.
                      After
                      > all, if they survived all that exposure to baggies and twist-ties
                      they
                      > must be pretty sturdy things! Paper in those days was still largely
                      > made of fiber (cotton rags) rather than wood pulp as is used
                      today.
                      >
                      > The easiest way to go is to find a good stamp dealer or shop. They
                      deal
                      > with old and wildly valuable paper on a daily basis and have the
                      > equipment to do so safely. The great enemies are (as already
                      mentioned)
                      > light, moisture, and acid.
                      >
                      > Sources of acid are modern-day paper and cardboard, and also your
                      nasty,
                      > dirty fingers. No offense is intended there...even a surgeon
                      prepped to
                      > go into the operating room has fingers that should not touch old
                      paper.
                      > The human body just oozes things that do not get along with paper
                      > fibers. Stamp dealers use tongs to touch stamps, but archivists get
                      thin
                      > cotton gloves which are easier to use with larger pieces of paper.
                      The
                      > local library may be willing to slip you an old pair if you talk
                      nicely
                      > to them.
                      >
                      > Talk to the stamp dealer....you need a set of cover (envelope)
                      holders
                      > and sheet holders. It would be best to unfold the letters once, put
                      them
                      > in the sheet holders (1 page per holder), then store them flat in
                      the
                      > future. In a pinch, the bags they use to store comic books would
                      > probably work perfectly well. "Acid free" are the magic words
                      here.
                      >
                      > Keep each letter and its respective cover together of course;
                      there is
                      > a whole history to be found in noting where the letter was written
                      and
                      > comparing that to where it was eventually mailed from. I have seen
                      a
                      > letter written by a lady here in West Tennessee to her sister in
                      > Charleston SC. As West TN was then in Union hands, she had to get
                      her
                      > pastor to hand-carry the letter for her. He was going to a church
                      > conference in Savannah and had a pass to get through the lines for
                      this
                      > purpose, whereas mail could not be sent (legally) from Union to
                      > Confederacy or vice versa.
                      >
                      > At any rate, you might want to have the stamp dealer give you an
                      > appraisal on these letters while you are at it. Aside from the
                      > inestimable family value these letters have, they stand a good
                      chance of
                      > being of considerable monetary value as well. (Especially if they
                      have
                      > Confederate stamps on them. Those are so valuable that a great many
                      of
                      > them you see offered for sale are complete fakes. Federal stamps
                      used on
                      > Confederate covers are very hot as well.) After you get them
                      > transcribed and properly stored you might want to consider putting
                      them
                      > in a safe-deposit box to avoid loss to fire or theft.
                      >
                      > For the ones which are faded or fading out, try darkening the room
                      and
                      > shining a flashlight or something at the paper from the side, rather
                      > than from directly above. Sometimes this will "bring out" the
                      letters as
                      > you can see the indentation where the pen or pencil pressed on the
                      > paper, rather than the faded ink itself. If that fails, then it is
                      time
                      > to start calling historical societies, college libraries, archives
                      of
                      > any sort, etc.

                      Thanks for tip with the flashlight. A couple of weeks ago while I was
                      in Tennesse for my Dads funeral we came across an old family bible
                      circa 1839. Some of the writing had turned brown and was very faded
                      and was very difficult to read.

                      As soon as I read your post I grabbed a flash light and brought the
                      bible out...your advice was right on the mark, I could read what was
                      written.

                      Please do not worry about rambling, I very much enjoyed it

                      Thank you
                      Ray


                      >
                      > Best of luck with your project, sounds like you have a real treasure
                      > there. Apologies to the group for rambling on at such length. :-)
                      >
                      > Laurie Chambliss
                      >
                      > Civil War Interactive
                      > www.civilwarinteractive.com
                      >
                      > tanzer@a... wrote:
                      > >
                      > > Hello, All!
                      > >
                      > > I admit, I know little about the Civil War outside of Lee's
                      campaigns
                      > > (those have always been a passion!). Well, we all know about the
                      big
                      > > stuff like Lookout Mountain and Atlanta, but when it comes to the
                      > > details ... I really should be more conversant with the western
                      > > campaigns, after all that's where family was involved, so I'm
                      looking
                      > > forward to lurking and learning.
                      > >
                      > > One question, probably off-topic ... I have a bunch of letters
                      still
                      > > in their envelopes in my possession, written by a cousin's
                      boyfriend,
                      > > as he was on the march through (Tennessee?). No, he didn't make
                      it
                      > > home :( . My grandmother had them until recently, and just kept
                      them
                      > > in a plastic baggie with a twist-tie.
                      > >
                      > > Does anyone have experience with old correspondence? What is the
                      > > best way to care for these letters and preserve them? I am in the
                      > > process of transcribing them before they fade (most are very
                      legible,
                      > > but one or two are already mostly lost), and I'm trying to not
                      touch
                      > > them directly, keep them out of the light, etc.
                      > >
                      > > Thanks so much for any advice you can give!
                      > > Michelle in Wisconsin
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