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    In every family, someone ends up with “the stuff.” It is the goal of The Family Curator to inspire, enlighten, and encourage other family curators in their efforts to preserve and share their own family treasures.

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    Thursday
    Aug072008

    Treasure! Look what I found in the cupboard. . .


    Ok, ok, I'm trying to find photos to post on my Profile here on the blog and also on my new Facebook Profile. It's awfully difficult when one is the principal family photographer; we've got everyone and the family dog, but me. I was rummaging in my archive (ie. living room bookcase cupboard) and discovered a cache of old black and white snapshots from childhood days.

    Jumbled in with all the old snaps I found a plastic grocery bag full of yellowed photo envelopes. I didn't realize what they were until I caught the handwritten notations: Mrs. Arline Parker, Olathe, Kansas; C.H. Parker. These are from the years when Arline was married to Charles Parker, about 1921-1929.

    Every envelope is jammed full of old black and white negatives. Some envelopes are newer, from Arline's years in Santa Ana, California after 1931. Some are from photo services in Kansas City, Missouri. There are negatives of photos I have seen, many of formal studio portraits, and I am sure, negatives of photos new to me.

    I know from Arline's letters that the family exchanged photos continually; it looks like Arline wisely had studio copies made so that she didn't lose the originals. Hooray for our original "Family Curator." I will have to do more research on the negatives, even at least one tintype or daguerreotype (don't know which yet), to see what I have here.

    Meanwhile, I would love comments on how to store these negatives. Obviously, they need to be handled with "white gloves" and placed in protective sleeves or folders. I sure would like to have prints made of each of them, as well.

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    Reader Comments (6)

    Wow, Denise! That's definitely quite a find! I would buy some standard Print File negative sleeves like http://www.archivalusa.com/357b100.html" REL="nofollow">these and some archival quality photo storage binders (the kind that are sealed on all edges so that dust won't get in). You can call around about getting prints made, keeping in mind that lots of places don't print their own black and white negs anymore, but send them out (which might make it more expensive), whereas places like A&I in Hollywood do their own stuff (I don't know about their prices, but the turn around time would definitely be faster). I'm guessing that your negs are odd sizes because of their age, so let me know if you have trouble figuring out what type of film they are - I own a lot of vintage cameras and shoot with antiquated films a whole bunch!

    August 8, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterrebecca ann

    Okay, Denise, so what you are saying is that you got distracted from posting your photo to facebook?! Congratulations on the find but you are not off the hook. Hmmmm... Don't I recall that fM had a lovely photo of you on Shades of the Departed?

    August 8, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKathryn Doyle

    Rebecca Ann, Thanks for the ideas. Most of the negs measure about 2-3/4 x 4-1/2; old Kodak Brownie? I recall she does talk about that camera in some letters.

    Katheryn, I'm working on it. What about the old snaps I just put up? That "glam" photo you refer to was from my oldest son's wedding, a happy day, but kinda formal.

    August 8, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDenise L

    Hmmm... Do you mean the individual frames are 4 1/2" or that the whole strip is 4 1/2"? Based on the 2 3/4 width, it sounds like it's probably 120 film, which is still really common and which should be relatively easy to print. There are lots of Brownies that used 120 or equivalent sized film!

    August 8, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterrebecca ann

    If the tin or dag is not sealed inside of a case, it's probably a tintype. Put a strong magnet to it. If it sticks, it's a tintype.

    It's a daguerreotype if it's in a sealed case and it gives off a mirror-like reflection. Not just a gloss, but an actual reflection. If it does, it's a daguerreotype. If not, it might even be an ambrotype.

    Whatever you do, if it's in a case, don't break any airtight seals until you learn more about it. The air can ruin it. Also keep it out of bright sunlight and away from extreme temps., humidity, etc. Tintypes are stronger but dags and ambrotypes are more fragile.

    I've got some tips on my site here, but Google for other good preservation tips online. Unfortunately my site doesn't have preservation tips on it yet. It's still fairly new. Sorry if some of this is obvious to you. I hope this helps you at least a little.

    Congrats on the find!

    August 8, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTintypes

    Thank you, tintypes, for all the ideas. The photo is not in a case, so maybe a tintype. There are others in the general "Archive" like this as well. Maybe they were taken out of the cases so they could be copied or mailed. I'll be updating this project when I am able to investigate more thoroughly.

    August 9, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDenise L

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