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Subject: Storing acidic paper

Storing acidic paper

From: Simon Barcham Green <simongreen>
Date: Thursday, October 10, 2002
Deborah Rohan <deborah.rohan [at] cambridgeshire__gov__uk> writes

>Does anyone have opinions on acid-free versus non acid-free
>packaging for already acidic documents? ...

My initial comment would be that there are many types of acidity and
many other agents that can damage paper. Papers in a collection may
well be acidic but this may be in a relatively innocuous form. For
example I have no doubt that most of the gelatin sized papers in the
Hayle Mill archives have a pH below 5 but nevertheless nearly all of
them are in excellent condition. (Surprisingly even machine made
commercial manifold paper used for copies of correspondence from the
1930s is in good condition (apart from mouse or insect  damage)
despite often being in  a poor storage environment for many years.
However the sort of storage folders you might buy that are not of
conservation quality could cause damage. When I get a chance I will
put the collection in quality folders and boxes which should also
offer some protection from atmospheric pollution. (I have to admit
though it i not high on my priority list!).

On a cautionary note though, a lot of so called acid free papers
certainly were not when I tested them years ago. "Acid free tissue"
was often acidic! This may have changed but I think you need to be
absolutely sure what you are getting. Furthermore a paper can be
acid free but contain many other harmful impurities.

I suspect this will be interesting correspondence and I am looking
forward to a diversity of views!


                  Conservation DistList Instance 16:27
                Distributed: Thursday, October 10, 2002
                       Message Id: cdl-16-27-005
Received on Thursday, 10 October, 2002

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