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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
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      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
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        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 3 of 10 , Oct 2, 2000
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          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 4 of 10 , Oct 2, 2000
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            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 5 of 10 , Oct 2, 2000
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              --- 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 6 of 10 , Oct 2, 2000
              • 0 Attachment
                --- 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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