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Old Black&White Photos

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  • Gordon Williams
    Please note that your reply will now only go to the original sender A large box of a hundred or more old B&W family snapshots has recently come into my
    Message 1 of 4 , Mar 15 9:24 PM
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      Please note that your reply will now only go to
      the original sender


      A large box of a hundred or more old B&W family snapshots has recently come
      into my possession. Some go back to the 1920s and beyond (and some even
      have the names of the individuals in them written on the back!).
      Unfortunately they were stored loose in shoe boxes for decades and, in the
      arid Manitoba climate, they have dried out, the emulsion has cracked and
      they have acquired a bad case of "Prairie Curl". I plan to scan them, but
      would like to minimize the damage that would result if I simply used brute
      force to flatten them in their present brittle condition.

      All suggestions as to how I might proceed would be greatly appreciated.

      With thanks,
      Gordon Williams



      http://www.afhs.ab.ca

      http://www.family-roots.ca
    • Mary Arthur
      Please note that your reply will now only go to the original sender This site is marginally helpful, but mostly a warning of the many ways you could make
      Message 2 of 4 , Mar 15 10:07 PM
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        Please note that your reply will now only go to
        the original sender


        This site is marginally helpful, but mostly a warning of the many ways you could make things worse: http://www.genealogy.com/10_restr.html

        Good luck.


        On Wednesday, March 15, 2006, at 10:42PM, Gordon Williams <gordon.w@...> wrote:

        >Please note that your reply will now only go to
        > the original sender
        >
        >
        >A large box of a hundred or more old B&W family snapshots has recently come
        >into my possession. Some go back to the 1920s and beyond (and some even
        >have the names of the individuals in them written on the back!).
        >Unfortunately they were stored loose in shoe boxes for decades and, in the
        >arid Manitoba climate, they have dried out, the emulsion has cracked and
        >they have acquired a bad case of "Prairie Curl". I plan to scan them, but
        >would like to minimize the damage that would result if I simply used brute
        >force to flatten them in their present brittle condition.
        >
        >All suggestions as to how I might proceed would be greatly appreciated.
        >
        >With thanks,
        >Gordon Williams
        >
        >
        >
        >http://www.afhs.ab.ca
        >
        >http://www.family-roots.ca
        >
        >
        http://www.afhs.ab.ca

        http://www.family-roots.ca
      • Judith Rempel
        Please note that your reply will now only go to the original sender Archives have to deal with furled photos, maps, charts, letters, etc. all the time. And,
        Message 3 of 4 , Mar 16 12:46 AM
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          Please note that your reply will now only go to
          the original sender


          Archives have to deal with furled photos, maps, charts, letters, etc. all the time. And, so there are some professional ideas on how to manage.

          However, because there are so many kinds of photos (chemicals, colours, papers), it is even more complicated.

          One standard and very simple way to flatten PAPER records can be done at home:

          In a large plastic tub (e.g. a garbage can), put about 1-2" of water, then place a metal or plastic rack of some kind (something that doesn't wick up the water to the surface) into the tub so that the surface does not touch the water. Place the records onto the rack and seal the tub (if it has no lid, you can use a plastic bag and string. (Apart from garbage bag, a clean, primary wine carboy would work well too!)

          In 24 hours, the papers should be flat. If not, wait another 24 hours.

          What's happened is that you've created a 100% humidity environment and cause the paper to absorb lots of moisture sort-of slowly.

          To keep them flat, lay something that is reasonably acid-neutral on top of the stack of records and then top it with a weight like a brick. As the papers come to Alberta's current humidity levels, the papers will stay much flatter than they were before.

          (note, if there appears to be fragile ink on the pages, you should try the above on a sample page first before exposing the whole set. If it is fragile, you should separate each piece of paper with an acid-free tissue so that the ink doesn't start to dissolve/bleed into the next page).

          Now - for photos, this is a much riskier situation because of the chemicals and emulsions involved. The approach apparently is the same, other other than slower is better than faster-rehydration, tissue interleaving is more important (unless you have another way of isolating the images from each other).

          Contact Irene too for information about making neutral "bean bag" weights to temporarily hold old items (e.g. rolled maps) 'flat' while consulting them.


          For one of my first resources for info about photographs in archives, see http://aabc.bc.ca/aabc/msa/8_photographs_and_other_visual_r.htm

          Other sources, unfortunately, are in print/paper form and filed at the MHSA in Calgary.



          Supplies:

          I get my supplies for the MHSA archives from several sources. The above-mentioned tissue comes from the provincial archives in Edmonton (see http://www.cd.gov.ab.ca/preserving/PAA_2002/Sales_and_Service/Supplies/folders_index.asp), or ask M/M Rees to purchase some for resale to the AFHS meetings, or contact Irene Klassen for some of our supply at the MHSA (cc'ed on this note).



          Judii Rempel in Gambia
          rempel@...


          ----- Original Message -----
          From: Mary Arthur <maryarthur@...>
          Date: Thursday, March 16, 2006 6:07 am
          Subject: Re: Old Black&White Photos

          > Please note that your reply will now only go to
          > the original sender
          >
          >
          > This site is marginally helpful, but mostly a warning of the many
          > ways you could make things worse:
          > http://www.genealogy.com/10_restr.html
          > Good luck.
          >
          >
          > On Wednesday, March 15, 2006, at 10:42PM, Gordon Williams
          > <gordon.w@...> wrote:
          >
          > >Please note that your reply will now only go to
          > > the original sender
          > >
          > >
          > >A large box of a hundred or more old B&W family snapshots has
          > recently come
          > >into my possession. Some go back to the 1920s and beyond (and
          > some even
          > >have the names of the individuals in them written on the back!).
          > >Unfortunately they were stored loose in shoe boxes for decades
          > and, in the
          > >arid Manitoba climate, they have dried out, the emulsion has
          > cracked and
          > >they have acquired a bad case of "Prairie Curl". I plan to scan
          > them, but
          > >would like to minimize the damage that would result if I simply
          > used brute
          > >force to flatten them in their present brittle condition.
          > >
          > >All suggestions as to how I might proceed would be greatly
          > appreciated.>
          > >With thanks,
          > >Gordon Williams
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >http://www.afhs.ab.ca
          > >
          > >http://www.family-roots.ca
          > >
          > >
          > http://www.afhs.ab.ca
          >
          > http://www.family-roots.ca
          >

          http://www.afhs.ab.ca

          http://www.family-roots.ca
        • Gordon Williams
          Please note that your reply will now only go to the original sender Many thanks to everyone for the helpful suggestions about how not to damage old B&W
          Message 4 of 4 , Mar 17 6:04 PM
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            Please note that your reply will now only go to
            the original sender


            Many thanks to everyone for the helpful suggestions about how not to damage
            old B&W snapshots that have dried and curled to a greater or lesser degree.

            Your expertise is awesome, and I am very grateful!

            Cheers,
            Gordon.


            ----- Original Message -----
            From: "Xenia Stanford" <president@...>
            To: "Dist-Gen" <dist-gen@...>
            Sent: Friday, March 17, 2006 10:50 AM
            Subject: FW: Old Black&White Photos


            | Please note that your reply will now only go to
            | the original sender
            |
            |
            | I am forwarding the comments I sent to Gordon about curling and cracked
            | photographs, in case anyone should decide to follow the advice given
            | earlier. Particularly identification of which layer is damaged and
            | pre-cleaning before any other treatment is carried out.
            |
            | By the way, when the photographs are in a box as recommended below, a
            | humidifer in the room near the box is recommended. I also forgot to warn
            | about the dangers of too much humidity if the photograph(s) are left too
            | long near the high humidity source - e.g. mould - this is another reason
            for
            | cleaning before adding an indirect high humidity source and for not
            cleaning
            | with water or applying water directly to the photographic image or any of
            | its layers. Also to ensure the items are not left in the high humidity
            | source for too long.
            |
            |
            |
            | -----Original Message-----
            | From: Xenia Stanford [mailto:president@...]
            | Sent: March 16, 2006 1:14 PM
            | To: Gordon Williams
            | Subject: RE: Old Black&White Photos
            |
            |
            | Hi Gordon,
            |
            | As a records manager at several major companies in Calgary, I dealt with
            | archival materials including photographs.
            |
            | The cause of cracked and curled photographs probably was not the arid
            | climate but former high humidity and water damage. After photographs and
            | papers dry out from a high humidity situation, they crack and curl. Also
            | there may have been mould inside or on the images causing discoloration
            and
            | distortion of images. Now your task is to do no further damage as well as
            to
            | restore or preserve the image in some way so it can be scanned and
            | preferably once again reproduced on photographic paper.
            |
            |

            <<<< snip >>>>


            http://www.afhs.ab.ca

            http://www.family-roots.ca
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