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Subject: Urine on photographs

Urine on photographs

From: Gary Saretzky <gsaretzk>
Date: Monday, September 30, 2002
Georgianne Bowman <ggbowman [at] msn__com> writes

>As North Collins (NY) historian and North Collins Historical Society
>secretary, I have received the collection of late 1800s photographs
>which my predecessor had collected.  Unfortunately, she had a number
>of unneutered cats and the collection is polluting the whole room
>where they are stored.
>Is there any method (other than enclosing with zeolite cat litter)
>which might help to remove the odor? Also, can cat urine stains be
>successfully removed from such old photos?

It may be possible to wash the photographs if they are not mounted,
especially if they are silver gelatin prints.  Spot testing would be
necessary to determine whether the prints could withstand immersion.
This treatment could be a disaster if there was mold on silver
gelatin photos, since mold can make gelatin water soluble. I suggest
that this collection should be evaluated by a conservator to
determine appropriate treatment options.  Duplication before such
treatment is also recommended.

gary saretzky

                  Conservation DistList Instance 16:25
                Distributed: Wednesday, October 2, 2002
                       Message Id: cdl-16-25-006
Received on Monday, 30 September, 2002

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