My aunt found several copies of our family newsletter dating back to 1959 in an old suitcase. It appears they were run off on a duplicating machine because the typed part is somewhat smeared blue ink. The paper feels like carbon paper.
Any ideas or suggestions on how to preserve these and make the pages more readable? A.
Your newsletters may have been copied on a spirit duplicator
(also called a Ditto machine) or a mimeograph machine
, both popular in schools and churches until modern photocopiers took over in the 1960s and 1970s.
These machines produced copies from a waxed master, resulting in less-than-sharp print quality—letters that bleed; o
s and a
s that look like solid circles.
You can enhance your newsletters’ readability by scanning them and using photo-editing software (which comes with most scanners) to increase the contrast of the scan and remove stray marks. Try placing a plain white sheet behind the newsletter when you scan it.
If you don’t have a scanner, try a photocopier that lets you adjust contrast—a copy shop can help with this. Make sure your final photocopies are on acid-free paper (see below for suppliers), which is much slower to yellow and deteriorate than regular copy paper.
As far as preserving the originals, they’re undoubtedly on paper that contains acid. Place the newsletters in an archival file folder separated by sheets of buffer paper (which has a low pH level to help neutralize the acids in your newsletters), and put the folder in an acid-free envelope or box.
For even more protection, treat your newsletters with an acid-neutralizing spray such as Archival Mist. Test a small area first to make sure the ink won’t run.
Acid-free paper, archival folders, buffer paper, acid-neutralizing spray and other supplies are available at many scrapbooking stores and through online retailers such as Archival Methods
and Light Impressions
Store the original newsletters away from sunlight and protect them from extremes in temperature and humidity—a closet in the living area of your home is best. To prevent wear and tear, use your digital or paper copies for reference.