Who Do You Think You Are?
The photographs were printed on thin paper, and mounted on solid board because the photographs would curl if left unsupported. Albumen paper was often used – coated in egg white and salts, this was introduced in the 1850s and dominated the market until the 1890s. However, albumen paper may develop a crazed appearance which creates a problem for surface cleaning. It also tends to yellow and fade.
A major development in the late 19th century was the postcard format. Postcards were first introduced in 1894, although there was no divided back so only an address could be written on them. From 1902 the back was divided, so that messages could be added too. Although they were designed to be posted, most were not.
Label Your Photos Carefully
Finally it is a good idea to label photographs for future identification. Add as much information as you know, even the memory of the knitted swimsuit – humour adds another dimension and brings the family story to life. Always use a soft pencil (eg 2B) to gently write notes on the reverse of a photograph, or preferably add details on the acid-free card inserts in the sleeves. Ink pens are not recommended because they may smudge and transfer, and never attach sticky notes to the face of your photos because they will leave a residue.
When your photographs are ready for storage, there are a number of choices. Albums are the
Victorian photographs can be found on metal and glass as well as paper
traditional way of displaying photographs, but if you go down this route you should avoid the self-adhesive variety because they contain damaging plasticisers that cause fading. Highquality photograph albums with acid-free pages and glassine interleaves are readily available.
An acid-free ring-binder with polyester sleeves that allow for later additions or changing