Saturday, August 14, 2010

Drop In - See What Condition My Condition Is In -- The Case for Sheet Protectors

Years of loving, yet neglectful acts of unkindness and this is the condition of a beloved 1947 scrapbook holding the high school years of a homecoming queen. Everyone loved to look at it, turning each brittle page and marveling at the items glued, taped and even pinned in place. The book has been displayed at scrapbooking classes and carted across country. It even survived a bad car accident when a 93-year-old man plowed through the bedroom wall and into the antique dry sink where all the scrapbooks were stored. (BTW, he was fine - amazing, considering it was his second or, I forget, third? accident in the last three weeks)

Considering how the original book started out, its in fairly decent shape. 12 1/2" x 16 1/2",  over 3" thick and stuffed with everything from a felt pennant to a dried corsage. The original price was penciled in the corner at $2.48. The pages are manilla construction paper and the binding was a decorative cord.

The whole book could have been wrapped in tissue and boxed away only to be brought out on special occasions and handled with gloved hands like a museum piece but I wanted everyone to continue to enjoy it up close and personal. That's what I love about sheet protectors. They do their job. Spill protection. No accidental rips. You won't lose anything that might come loose. They make the pages touchable. And that's what I hate about sheet protectors--loss of tactile sensation. You can't touch what's inside. You can't turn the pages of a card or pamphlet glued to the page. Small sacrifice in exchange for years of added life.

In addition to this scrapbook was a photo album, in not much better shape, filled with black and white photos of the same high schools classmates referenced in the scrapbook.  I wrestled with whether to preserve both separately or to combine them.  Combining won in the end. I loved the results because the people pictures added faces to names listed in the newpaper articles and programs.

Where to start? I took the scrapbook apart, saving the extra blank pages at the back as well as the broken pieces of binding. Next, I counted out the number of protective sleeves I needed. Most of the pages had items pasted on the front and the back so 1 page protector per sheet. A few pages could be backed by a separate sheet. Here is where the extra blank pages came in handy - glad I didn't toss those.

I use Prestige Archival Protective Sleeves, acid free, polypropylene sleeves, 11" x 17".  Notice though the overall dimensions of the book--12 1/2" x 16 1/2". I knew I would have to cut the top edge off. I say top edge because they are top loading, that's the open edge. In addition to the 11" x 17" sheet protectors I ordered some 8 1/2" x 11" for some smaller things I found in the scrapbook like a gossipy little handwritten note and a term paper with an "Excellent" score in red. I ordered the Prestige Protective Sleeves from Their pricing and service is great.

Next post I'll talk about what I did to the pages while waiting for the sheet protectors to arrive.

1 comment:

  1. Cynthia this restoration looks like it was a major undertaking...but well worth your efforts, it's priceless!