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Preserving Family Photos and Memorabilia: Newspapers & Clippings

Some tips and links to preserving your family's history while at home

Newspapers & Clippings

Newspapers from the mid-19th century onwards are printed on inexpensive, wood pulp paper that is not manufactured for longevity. These newspapers are inherently acidic due to the inherent chemical instabilities of low-quality wood pulp papers. Good storage conditions are critical to the preservation of acidic papers, but the following guidelines apply to all newspapers, including those from before the mid-19th century, which are printed on better quality paper:

  1. A cool (room temperature or below), relatively dry (about 35% relative humidity), clean, and stable environment (avoid attics, basements, and other locations with high risk of leaks and environmental extremes)
  2. Minimal exposure to all kinds of light; no exposure to direct or intense light
  3. Distance from radiators and vents
  4. Storage of newspapers in flat storage boxes
  5. Supportive protective enclosures such as: acid-free and lignin-free buffered folders, flat boxes with lids the same depth as the base, and stiff boards for "board-setting" (sandwiching neat stacks between preservation-quality boards). Polyester sleeves carry a static charge that can damage brittle newspapers and do not have an alkaline buffer, which provides a desirable neutralizing effect on acids in paper, they also add considerable weight and bulk to storage.