Thursday, November 13, 2008

Change You Don't Want: Keeping Your Obama Newspaper From Disintegrating

Obama Newspaper Front Pages Mosaic made of 477 different Newspapers
from around the world. Uploaded by Flickr User Lumis. Click here to zoom
in and see each page.

History was made last week in Chicago as our senator was announced the first African American President of the United States. The next day, people queued up in front of newspaper vendors worldwide hoping to get their own piece of history.

Change posted by Flickr user Michelle's House

Here in Chicago, lines outside of the Tribune Building on Michigan Ave went around the block as thousands of papers were distributed to the clamoring public. Over the past week, we've received many inquiries as to the proper method for preserving these newspapers from deteriorating over time.

Newspaper, due to the wood pulp content of the paper, naturally becomes acidic over time which can cause the fibers to become brittle as well as a yellowish staining to the paper overall. While we can't stop this from happening, we can slow down the process. Here are a few tips we hope will help.

  • Store your newspaper flat. This will protect the fibers at the central horizontal crease from weakening which can result in tears and losses.
  • Protect your newspaper in acid free archival materials to protect it from absorbing additional acids from poor quality paper and cardboard.
  • Provide a rigid support to keep your newspaper from becoming bent or torn during storage and handling.
To save you time, here's a list of the most affordable quality products appropriate for the preservation of your newspaper.

Newspaper Folder
available from Archival Products

Available from Archival Products for only $12.37!

This is the best quality and most affordable folder we found which matches all our necessary criteria at a. Priced at $12.37, the folder is made of boards thick enough to provide a rigid environment and are of a high quality acid free buffered with an alkaline reserve pH of 8.5 which will provide a safe long term acid free environment for your newspaper storage. The folder has a clear sleeve made of acid free Melinex sewn into the folder which gives further stabilization to the newspaper and allows for the safe viewing of both sides of the newspaper without handling.

Acid Free Tissue Interleaving available from
Gaylord Archival Products

tissue pack of 25 sheets available from Gaylord Archival Products for $29.05

We also recommend interleaving the pages of the newspaper with acid free tissue or paper. A 25 sheet pack of buffered archival tissue is available from Gaylord Archival Products for $29.05. The 30" x 40" sheets can be cut down to custom fit the pages of your newspaper.

If you don't wish to interleave the whole paper, it is advisable to at least interleave the front page, which is generally considered the most important. You can go to an art supply store and ask for a sheet of acid free paper which is large enough for your newspaper. Sheets of acid free paper are also available from

The Big Book Oversize Scrapbook available from
Light Impressions

Scrapbook available from Light Impressions for $52.95

If you wish to go the full ten yards, oversize Scrapbooks are available from Light Impressions which will allow you to fully display each page of your newspaper, along with other affiliated memorabilia. Acid free clear polyester page covers are available to protect the newspaper once hinged to the page and you can even have your scrap book personalized with printed text for only a couple more dollars!

These options, we hope will help you look toward the future to preserve the past. The goal is to keep you paper looking like this:

Rare Dewey Newspaper posted by Rag Linen and Rare Newspapers

and not like this:

Woodford County Journal, 2004 posted by Flickr user Mcbeth.

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