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Somewhat OT: Preserving old newspaper clippings?

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  • Somewhat OT: Preserving old newspaper clippings?

    I'm looking to try to preserve some old newspaper clippings, specifically, a stack of some 200+ comic strips my dad clipped out of the newspaper between 1968 and 1969.

    They're currently in pretty good shape, not crispy or flaking, yellowed but not horribly so.

    I'm currently (and painstakingly) scanning them at a fairly high resolution (600dpi) and I'll eventually convert them to B&W and play with the contrast to make them more readable.

    But, we'd still like to preserve the originals. They've spent much of the intervening years in an office desk drawer, and a few more in a sock drawer- not even in an envelope or anything, just stapled into little booklets.

    Any suggestions to save them? Once we have 'em scanned and new copies printed, we won't need regular access to the originals (not that we needed regular access before, since they only got read about once every ten years or so) so something like a vac-pack bag wouldn't be out of the question.

    I was thinking of trying to get a small case of some sort (so the pages aren't compressed or squashed together) and either vacuum-packing it in a bag, or filling a bag full of argon or nitrogen and then heat-sealing it.


    Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

  • #2
    If there is a comic book store near you then get some comic book bags and the waxed acid free box they go in.Seriously,that's what the comic book collectors I know use.
    I just need one more tool,just one!


    • #3
      They're strips, not whole comics. They're roughly 7" long and 2-1/2" wide, and the whole loose stack is almost 2" tall. (Though can lightly compress to half that.)

      Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)


      • #4
        Doc I rented a store once for my hobby shop back in the early 90's. It was a very old building built in the late 1700's and had been remodeled at some point many years ago like early 1900's. We pulled up the old floor tile and were going to carpet it. What we found may surprise you. Under the tile was a layer of real old flooring (like linoleum) not sure what it was. We pulled that up to get to the wood and we found newspapers from the 1900's starting in 1902 on to the 20's. It was amazing as all this paper was still in great shape! All they did was open up newspapers and laid them down. I asked a floor guy and he said they did that for 2 reasons, one was it was used as a base for that flooring stuff and also as insulation or actually for drafts.
        Anyway all the papers were in great shape and had been down there for for almost 100 years. If you could figure why they stayed fresh (maybe lack of UV) but they sure looked great and were still very pliable.
        Life Is Grand


        • #5
          Doc, if you really wanna keep em long term, I suggest you scan them and print onto acid-free archive paper, also, store in acid-free archive boxes or envelopes.
          The residual acid from kraft-process paper will eventually destroy the originals.
          Chances are, the old newspapers mentioned by Cybor were produced by an older, acid-free process.
          As a telecom techie back in the 70s, I used to find a lot of that sort of stuff in and under old buildings.
          Just got my head together
          now my body's falling apart


          • #6
            The paper used for your comics is known in the industry as groundwood and made under acidic conditions on a papermachine. As such, both the acidity and lignin content are deterents to stability and long life. Chances are that the papers from 1900 were quite different chemically and are not particularly relevant to todays manufacture.
            Regarding storage in a bag filled with inert gas, you may find that the inert gas will migrate out of the bag and be replaced by air and not contribute to the long term storage that you seek.
            There are firms that deal in the preservation of paper documents, however you may find this choice is somewhat expensive.
            For your purposes, storage inside an acid free envelope(s) in a subzero freezer could be a reasonable, middle of the road approach.
            Contact the Institute of Paper Science and Technology in Atlanta, Georgia for a better answer to your question.


            • #7
              Newspaper clippings should be deacidified to preserve them. You can buy a deacidifying spray at an art supplies store. The deacidified and dried clippings should then be stored interleaved with an alkaline paper. Modern "acid free" fine papers are actually alkaline. "Acid free" does not necessarily mean neutral pH. It used to be that fine papers were made with sulphited softwood pulp and clay filler to provide opacity, substance and whiteness. Clay doesn't recycle well so about 25 years ago the industry began to switch to calcium carbonate fillers. Any good photocopy paper will be a calcium carbonate filled bond and will serve as leaf sheets for the clippings. You can then heat seal them with a home bagger for long term storage.
              Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


              • #8
                My house was built in 1922 while doing some plumbing repairs on second floor
                i found newspaper underneath the floor section i had to remove, it had not seen the light of day for years, it was yellowed and very crumbley, i was able to read an article about jim thorpe before it crumbled,,, maybe some thing in the linolium helped preserve those 1900 newspapers.
                scariest thing to hear " I am from the government and i am here to help"


                • #9
                  A friend of mine once investigated the best way to store back issues of magazines to preserve them. He talked to some librarians and such people, and the consensus was that the main thing is keep the air away from them. They recommended putting them in Ziplock bags. Keeping them in a dark place wouldn't hurt, either.
                  Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
                  Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
                  Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
                  There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
                  Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
                  Don't own anything you have to feed or paint. - Hood River Blackie


                  • #10
                    Spoke with my wife.She's into scrapbooking.She said there is some spray that scrapbooking stores sell that you can spray on clippings to slow down the deterioration.She said you can also soak them in a solution of milk of magnesia and club soda.she also said to watch out because some inks on older newsprint were water based and can bleed.
                    ...the order of bringing about change
                    is the four boxes:


                    • #11
                      You can of course photocopy the clippings.
                      We have had very good luck with crumbling sheets, by "puzzling them out" on the glass.
                      You can adjust the "background" for maximum readability.

                      Hth Ag
                      Last edited by agrip; 03-17-2007, 01:52 PM.


                      • #12
                        Simple answer is to put em in a ziplock bag and freeze em.
                        Just got my head together
                        now my body's falling apart


                        • #13
                          This isn't quite on point, but I have some copies of the new york times from 09/12/2001 wrapped in plastic sitting in a box somewhere, and I was hoping someday to frame the paper, not just the front page but the whole thing with only the front page showing. Is there a special glass I need, and must the frame be airtight? I'm afraid of going to a frame shop because this could be expensive.
                          Machinist Apprentice
                          Some of my creations