Organizing old historic newspapers, help.

toeshoesSeptember 21, 2006

Hello everyone, I'm new to this forum and I'm so glad I found it on the net. My question; have alot of old newspapers that my mother collected, the ending of WW II, Queen Elizabeth's corination, Kennedy assisination etc. What is the best way to store them. I was thinking that there might be a large ,clear, acid free vinyl type page holder that I could put them in, big enough for a newspaper page. They could then be stored and pulled out to view without being damaged.

Does anyone know where I might find such a thing or have any recommendations? Thanks so much.

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You might try an art supply store. They often have large, 3-ring portfolios into which you can insert acid-free, archival document holders. Many of the portfolios zip shut, so you can store them without fear of dust.

Here's a pic of this type of portfolio.

Here is a link that might be useful: Zippered portfolio

    Bookmark   September 21, 2006 at 3:06PM
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Newspapers will continue to deteriorate because they are the world's cheapest paper source and were never made to last. It is nothing but wood pulp, unlike the early paper made from linen which is standing the test of time. Any type of light will cause fading and they are very suseptable to moisture or dryness. Inks from that time period were frquently made from metals which will continue to deteriorate the paper.

Museum supply sources may have something for people who do actual research, but think how everything is pretty much put on microfiche film for that purpose. This link is for newspapers, but any type of acid-free really just means acid-reduced.

Any type of cardboard cannot be made totally acid free and when we store quilts we know that we need to change the acid free tissue paper frequently.

Here's another source, but again, it's only for folded newspapers, so trying to read them would cause damage as they are opened and pages turned.

This source had a mylar sleeve which looked large enough, but it's $105 for 10! I collect old magazines with quilts on the covers and this is what I use. You would have to store them open and flat.

My mom has saved a lot of these same type of items. The problem is--they are all well documented with lasting sources with movies and well produced books. I know WHY mom saved them. They were important events in her lifetime. There isn't any reason for me to continue the tradition since all of the effort in the world won't keep them from deteriorating when the time comes.

When we have wanted to save something small, like an obituary, we have done a couple of things. We had copies made onto 100% linen paper at the copy store and we also had the original laminated. That stopped the deterioration for now. Who knows what it will look like in a 100 years.

When looking at these storage solutions, you'll have to decide how much effort and $$$ you want to invest. Maybe one of the boxes would be good. You could still look at them during your lifetime. They have already lasted a long time and won't disappear tomorrow, but once they crumble, that's it.

Here is a link that might be useful: large mylar sleeve

    Bookmark   September 21, 2006 at 4:33PM
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the high-wood-pulp paper has a very high acid content, and even sealed away, they will keep getting brittle.

You can sometimes spray paper to remove or greatly cut the acid in the paper.

But I would sort of make the same point Gloria did, and will say something I say to my DH:

It is not your responsibility to save these for posterity. There are other people and other places, much better equipped, who are already doing this.

And you can find that info and those papers elsewhere, should you be interested in looking at them yourself.

If you want to HELP those archivers, send the papers to them. If you're keeping them because YOU will look at them again, then save them.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2006 at 4:49PM
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Oh well, thanks everyone. I've been keeping them under my bed for years all flattened out inside of an artists portfolio. Everyone's correct, they do keep these things on microfilm but for some reason I just can't throw them away. I guess I'll just keep them for my kids to look at and let them deteriorate(I have a family prayer book from 1862 that's in better shape than the newspspers!). Thanks again for all your information.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2006 at 6:53PM
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I, too, have newspapers from important events. They're in a bin of my must keep items. Perhaps they are only important to me but the odd time I take them out, they certainly do bring back memories. I'm sure my kids would at least reminisce about these events. Who knows, maybe a grandchild could use them for a paper?

    Bookmark   September 22, 2006 at 10:32PM
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There's a company called Brodart that has acid-free materials for storing things. I bought a very old book and ordered an acid-free box to keep it in.

I know you want to keep those clippings, and you can, just not forever. So do your best, and keep them and enjoy them. Besides they will probably crumble into dust in many decades, not in a couple decades, unless they're stapled to your wall (joking)

Educate yourself on what archival means. Some regular copy paper, for example, is acid-free! Read small print carefully. It could be cheaper than you think.

Talk to your local museums. Some are funded so that all the staff are tightwads and they have some great ideas!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2008 at 11:59AM
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I've been saving historical newspapers for 25 years now, and have been wondering lately if I'm using the best archival methods with them. After reading this thread, I see that the answer is "No". Many thanks for the ideas and info . . . and for inquiring in the first place, Toeshoes.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2008 at 9:39AM
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Yesterday I was watching "Cash in the Attic" where people take their household heirlooms and put them up for auction. One family had a nice stack of historical papers starting from the early 1900's. The highest bid was $50. Seems the monetary payoff for saving the papers and losing the storage space to the newspapers would discourage me from going down that same route. If there was something sentimental I would probably clip it and press it between the pages of a book.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 1:21PM
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Some newspapers, like our Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, has their old papers online and accessible for free (partnered with Google).

No need to store and hope that someone will want them someday....

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 2:25PM
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I guess I wonder: Have you pulled them out and looked at them in the past 5 or 10 years, and extrapolating that into the future, how often will you pull them out and peruse them in the next 5 or 10 years?

I love historical newspapers--I work at a newspaper, so I'm very glad that some people believe "important" covers and important journalism have value. But knowing that they will deteriorate and that there is pretty much nothing you can do to keep them pristine, I like the idea a fellow newspaperman did with a few fronts that he especially valued: He framed them and put them up in his finished basement. (He used special, large mounting corners so that if someone wanted to look at inside pages, he could open the frame and take the paper out.)

History all around him--not sitting in a box waiting for the moment somebody remembers the newspapers are there.

The OP might not have the desire or wall space to do this, but it's an option for some people, perhaps.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2008 at 9:11PM
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You could get them professionally scanned and put on a disc, as well as printing the scan. The actual paper will deteriorate, and there's really no point in saving them.

Most libraries got rid of their bound volumnes, which is of course, sad, but outside of a few collectors, no one was using them. I do research for a living, and I almost never touch an actual paper or page.

And it's not the big events that need to be saved, IMHO--JFK info abounds. But the little strange stories and obituaries of the not-so-famous are the things most likely to be lost. That's the stuff I'd save.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2008 at 12:26PM
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The Home Decorating forum had a hot topic over the summer. It was whether or not it was proper to have reading material in the bathromm. Which BTW, was about 90/10% in favor. At least two people mentioned bathrooms that had actual newspaper as wallpaper. Of course, it was only the interesting stuff! Just a thought.....

    Bookmark   September 26, 2008 at 11:37AM
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