Preserve Newspaper Clippings
Collection created by George G. Morgan
The preservation of old newspaper clippings can be difficult. There are several reasons for this. Most important, the paper stock used was never intended for archival usage. Newsprint itself tends to disintegrate quickly. Have you ever left a newspaper in the sun for a period of time and noticed that it had yellowed? What it actually was doing is disintegrating. Add moisture and the you have a recipe for extremely rapid deterioration.
There are several things you can do to preserve newspaper clippings and/or their content. Let's discuss them.
Make Copies Immediately!Photocopying newspaper clippings admittedly exposes them to a dose of bright light, and light is an enemy of newsprint. However, if you are interested in preserving the content of a newspaper article or clipping, there can be no substitute for a one-time exposure when the clipping is new. Make sure you are copying onto acid-free, archival-safe paper stock. Once done, you will then have a backup copy on a more stable type of paper.
Store Them SafelySelecting the proper storage medium and the proper place is essential to preserving newsprint materials for long periods. Since heat, light and moisture are the enemy, make sure you select a cool, dark, dry place for the storage of these items. You also must make certain that you store the items in acid-free, archival-safe materials.
You want to place these flimsy, fragile clippings inside another folder for storage. Don't rely on common business envelopes and manila file folders for this purpose. Depending on the manufacturer, these items may not be acid-free, and may ultimately destroy the newsprint. Check with a professional stationery printer or a reliable office supply store for acid-free envelopes, folders or sheet protectors. Store the clippings in these materials.
Once you have sheathed the materials, one choice for a larger, dark storage would be the archival storage boxes used for photographs. There are a number of these companies listed at the end of this article that provide quality, archival-safe storage containers.
Acid-Neutralizing and Preserving WashOne method that has been submitted as a means of preserving newspaper clippings is the use of a Milk of Magnesia bath.
Please note that the author does not recommend using this method and takes no responsibility for the outcome. Newsprint varies in texture and quality. If you choose to use this method, make sure you take three precautions:
- Make a photocopy of the newspaper article before you use this method.
- Make a sample batch of the liquid and practice with new newsprint before you do anything with your precious clippings.
- Practice on several other new clippings of the same size, so you become familiar with how to handle the wet newsprint.
This method is not intended for use with any handwritten manuscripts, as the ink will run and destroy the document. This method is to be used only to stop the aging process of newspaper clippings.
Mix the following as directed below:
Pour one capful of Milk of Magnesia into the bottle of club soda. Carefully replace the cap and slowly invert to mix the two fluids. Label the bottle so that someone finding it in the refrigerator does not mistake it for something else. The mixture isn't dangerous; it just tastes awful. Store this overnight in the refrigerator.One capful milk of magnesia
One bottle of club soda (1 liter size)
Pour the solution into a glass cake pan.
Gently put a clipping into the solution for 2-3 minutes. Be careful not to tear or poke holes in the fragile paper.
Carefully place between white paper towels to extract most of the solution. (Use of color or printed paper towels may cause inks to transfer onto the clipping.) Transfer and store overnight between two pages of white blotter paper with books used on top for weights.
Suppliers of Archival MaterialsThe following companies sell archival quality sheet protectors, acid-free papers and archival boxes, along with other items of interest to genealogists:
20th CENTURY PLASTICS
3628 Crenshaw Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90016
PO Box 30231
Los Angeles, CA 90030
Madison, WI 53707
HIGHSMITH CO, INC.
W5527 Highway 106
PO Box 800
Ft. Atkinson, WI 53538-0800
439 Monroe Avenue
Rochester, NY 14607-3717
You may also want to visit the following
websites for more information:
Library of Congress: Preservation Directorate: Preserving Newspapers
Library of Congress: Frequently Asked Questions: How can I preserve my newspaper clippings?
The Preservation Place
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