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1960's Photo Album


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This is just a bit of friendly advice...As part of my job, I am currently working on preserving a photo album/scrapbook put together in the 1960's for a World War I Victoria Cross winner. It is one of those adhesive albums with the clear top pages that were typical in the 1960's/1970's and even into the 80's and 90's. I am slowly removing everything from the album due to the damage being inflicted on the historic items by the old glue slowly leaching through the paper and photographs. Fortunately I have been able to remove all the items so far without much damage although several pieces have suffered where their back side connected to the "glue" page.

I bring this up not to talk about the album but to remind everyone that if you have something like this in your collection...and I am sure many of you do...you should strongly think about removing the items as soon as possible. The longer the items sit in the album, the more they bond to the pages. One thing I have learned with these albums is that is not a matter of if problems will arise but when!

Here are a few tips I use when removing the items...others please feel free to chime in with advice, warnings, etc.

 

1) For continuity, photograph each page before removing the items. (Any album I work with at my job eventually gets reassembled into an archival safe album.)

2) Use a very thin, metal archival tool to carefully work in behind stubborn items. The tool needs to be super thin and flat. For example, a paperclip is to thick! (I acquired my tools through Gaylord Brothers Archival Supply and they come in extremely handy!)

3) For especially stubborn items I use a blow-dryer on low heat to gradually loosen the glue. I have had the most success directing the heat on the back of the page.

4) BE PAITENT. This is not something to hurry through especially if the items are not wanting to let go. I cannot stress this enough!!!

5) BE ORGANIZED. I remove the items and then note on the reverse side in pencil (lightly written) page number and position on the page. The items then are placed into envelopes corresponding with their page number. If a item is "sticky" it goes into a Mylar sleeve.

That is just a few of mine and I look forward to hearing others advice on this.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Really glad this thread popped up. I am the current caretaker of a photo album put together a good friends father, following his service with the 5th Army in Italy. The book was stored very poorly and is now falling apart. The cover has separated from the book and the edges and corners of the pages are crumbling. Seeing as the book is falling apart, would "restoring" the book (removing the items glued inside and putting them on archival paper) hurt the value/integrity of the book? Would fellow collectors look at it as "messed with"?

 

The most important thing is, of course, making sure the items within the scrapbook last as long as possible, but I don't want to hurt the integrity of the group.

 

Thoughts?

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would "restoring" the book (removing the items glued inside and putting them on archival paper) hurt the value/integrity of the book?

 

 

I buy a lot of old photo albums and in most cases the albums are not worth savings. Every so often the exception comes along, but the typical photo album with no captions, crumbling paper pages (or sticky vinyl sleeves) are not going any good and may even be harmful, as noted above. I would not put them back on paper, but rather use archival plastic sleeves so they don't need taped or glued. I find a lot of the old albums with strings to hold the pages and covers together. I often save the string and the little round pieces that allow the string to be threaded easily through the pages. That way when I get an album that is worth presaerving as is, I have some spare parts.


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Thank you, Bob. I would be able to save the cover, which would be necessary, but the pages inside are certainly deteriorating (previously stored in a basement). Thank you for the input!

 

The (usually) black pages of the old photo albums really start to crumble with age: whomever designed that paper apparently did not have long-term us in mind :)


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  • 1 month later...

Excellent thread, good advice.

 

Especially the patience part...

HONORING FAMILY LtCol Wm Russell (1679-1757) VA Mil; Pvt Zachariah McKay (1714-97) Frederick VA Mil; BrigGen Evan Shelby, Jr (1719-94) VA Mil; Pvt Vincent Hobbs (1722-1808) Wythe VA Mil; Pvt Hugh Alexander (1724-77); Lt John R. Litton (1726-1804); Bvt BrigGen/Col Wm W. Russell (1735-93) 5th VA Rgmt; Lt James Scott (1736-1817); Capt John Murray, Sr (1747-1833); Capt John Sehorn, Sr (1748-1831) VA Mil; Pvt Corbin Lane (1750-1816) Franklin/TN Mil; Cpl Jesse D. Reynolds (1750-1836) 5th VA Rgmt; Capt. Solomon C. Litton (1751-1844); 1Lt Christopher Casey (1754-1840) SC Mil; Pvt Mark Adams (1755-1828); Pvt Randolph White (1755-1831) Bailey's Co. VA Rgmt; Capt. John R. Russell (1758-1838); Pvt Joseph T. Cooley (1767-1826) Fort Hempstead Mil; Pvt Thomas Barron (1776-1863) 1812; Capt. John Baumgardner (1787-1853) VA Mil; Pvt Joel Estep (1828-1864) Co B 5th KY Inf CSA & US; Pvt George B. Bell (1833-1910) Co C 47th IL Inf US; Cpl Daniel H. Barron (1838-1910) Co B 19th TN Rgmt Inf CSA; Capt Richard K. Kaufman (1908-1946) 7th PRG/3rd AF CCU; T-5 Vernon L. Bell (1926-95) 1802nd Spec Rgmt; PO2 Murray J. Heichman (1932-2019) HQSB/MCRD; PFC Jess Long (1934-2017) US Army; PFC Donald W. Johnson (1931-) 43rd ID HQ; A1C Keith W. Bell (1931-2011) 314th TCW; A3C Michael S. Bell (1946-) 3346th CMS; A1C Sam W. Lee (1954-2017) 2d BW; AW3 Keith J. Price (1975-) VP-10; 1Lt Matthew Wm Bell (1985-) 82nd Abn/SOC








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