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November 14, 2013

Removing Clippings to Preserve Ledger Book Pages from the 1890s

Removing Clippings to Preserve Ledger Book Pages from the 1890sMy fingers are prunes. Yesterday saw me with my hands in warm water as I soaked ledger pages from the 1890s in order to remove newspaper clippings from the 1928 Boston Globe.

My readers may recall that I bought a new toy, a Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 Scanner for PC and Mac (PA03656-B005)and that one of my plans was to scan the pages of old ledger books that I have purchased over the years.

One of the ledgers I was scanning was from a delivery service of some kind. Every page had names, street addresses, item(s) purchased, cost of delivery and a delivery date. But the first dozen or so pages had been glued over on both sides with clippings from newspapers dated 1928.

While it's always interesting to read old newspaper tidbits and articles, there were no births, deaths, marriages or obituaries so I decided that the names and details underneath were of more value to genealogists. That led me to the decision to try to remove the clippings. I am pleased to say that my idea worked extremely well!

Soaking each ledger page in water
First I put a bit of warm water in a dishtub, then I gently soaked the pages, one at a time. Most of the clippings were easily removed and the ledger pages did not tear, nor did the ink disappear.

The words underneath becoming visible
After peeling off the clippings I hung the wet pages on my antique drying rack. Within a few hours they were dry. My next step was to lay them flat on a hard surface and place a heavy ream of paper on top to help flatten them.

The ledger pages drying on my antique rack
I will scan the pages today, save them as PDF files and the project will be ready to upload to my husband's website Ancestors At Rest All in all there were over 300 pages of names in this ledger book so I am excited to bring it online for all to see

1 comment:

Bonnie Woodman said...

To preserve newspaper clippings, soak them as follows:
Dip it
You can make a "dip" of milk of magnesia and club soda that will neutralize the acid in the newsprint. This method is claimed to preserve the life of the newsprint for 200 years. This recipe gives instructions from two versions I have found:
1. Mix club soda with milk of magnesia. (One recipe recommends 2 tablespoons of milk of magnesia to 1 quart of club soda. Another recipe recommends 1 tablet of milk of magnesia to 1/4 cup of club soda.)
2. Allow the solution to sit in the refrigerator overnight or at least for eight hours before using.
3. Pour the solution into a shallow pan that is large enough for the clipping to lay flat and be immersed in the solution. Soak only one clipping at a time.
4. Soak the clipping in the solution for 1 hour.
5. Carefully remove the clipping from the solution and place between layers of plain white paper towels. Pat gently to help remove moisture.