View Full Version : Letters 1941 to 1946, seeking ideas on conservation, cataloging and using material

17-08-15, 01:19
When clearing out my 96 year old mother's flat after she went into aged care last year (she has subsequently died) I found two boxes of letters between her and my father - period 1941 to 1946. I did not have time to look though the boxes as I was returning to Australia.

They have just arrived here after being shipped from England.

I am looking at how best to conserve, catalog and to write a story which will be of interest in years to come.

Family were not interested in them. I just rescued them from being thrown out!

I would so appreciate any ideas.

Thank you

17-08-15, 05:39
Do a Blurb book, JA.....you can scan each letter using high resolution, and put it as an image in the book, then weave a connecting story line on text pages between each letter. Add appropriate family photos where relevant. The result could make a nice gift for family members, in a format that is easily accessible. Can't offer advice re conservation of the originals, but I am sure Ratty would be a good source of info.

17-08-15, 08:43
I like the Blurb book idea. I need to carry out a similar exercise with a small suitcase full of letters sent from north Africa by my dad to mum during WW2. As to conserving the originals, ours seem to have survived being kept in bundles in a battered leather case in the loft for 70 years - the case is disintegrating but the letters are not! As I read them I'm trying to handle them as little as possible, and not to put too much strain on the creases when I open them out and refolding them along the same creases. I have a large roll of acid free tissue paper and was going to wrap each bundle in this, labelling the bundle with date details, and then transfer them to an acid free archive box.
There's also a diary he kept in a small notebook, written in impossibly tiny writing - a habit which he never shook off so that birthday cards and letters he sent in later years were a challenge to read :)

17-08-15, 09:00
Thank you both for advice. I may have to get into a blurb book Macbev with any gems I find like the one from the head of Sunday School at Moorbottom Congregational Church. She was part of a correspondence group writing to member of the church away in the war.

Judith, good advice about handling the letters and the acid free paper and container. These have been in two cardboard boxes. They are intact but rather fragile and have now survived a trip by ship from the Uk to here. I will use white gloves methinks when handling. I will google acid free paper availability here.

Your letters and diary sound treasures.

Thank you

17-08-15, 12:00
I came into possession of a few old family letters some years ago, form a father (my G uncle) to his son, the writing was very hard to understand, so I started by trying to type them into my computer, leaving spaces for any words I could not read, and then going back over them time and again until I managed to complete it, I then printed each one out and put it back to back with the original and laminated them, I must say it worked out rather well.


17-08-15, 12:10
Robert, thank you. I must to feeling daunted with over 200 letters, more like 400 hundred as I organise them. I so admire what you have done with your letters. You have given me an idea of what to do with the significant ones as I sort them through.

They are precious letters you have.

Jill on the A272
17-08-15, 19:00
What a wonderful collection to have! I inherited a postcard collection (around 600 pieces) and spent a good 6 months scanning each one back and front, and then transcribing them. I would not laminate the original documents though, only a scan. Originals are put away and I only refer now to the digital copies though I lent some originals to a museum for a WW1 exhibition and have just had them back.

If you are going to scan them, give some thought to how to label them so that all pages of the same letter are identifiable eg with the same number at the start followed by a page number 1 page 1, 1 page 2 etc or the date. & Maybe put scanned pages for each letter in labelled folders on your computer.

18-08-15, 01:01
Thanks Jill no longer on the A272:) Excellent advice on numbering when scanning. Given the number of them, and that most have over 4 pages, I think I need to sort out the ones which are significant, also making notes on things which I did not know. For instance I have picked up that my sister Margaret Lesley was called Lesley until she was around four, when she decided to be called Margaret. I also thought I would write up the places my father was posted to going by the dates and the addresses. He trained people to work on tires and wheels on the new spitfires and then pilots on the use of radar.

Yvonne from Oz
19-08-15, 12:18
Hi JA - there is a business in Queanbeyan called Art and Archival. They actually do the work (not sell supplies) but they might know where you can get the supplies.

This is their web site with contact details:http://www.artandarchival.com.au/

Other than that, Ratty says you can get supplies on....................... ebay :D and perhaps Office Works or similar places.


22-08-15, 08:40
:) Thanks For sleuthing Vonny, much appreciated :) I will check out further the company. Tell Ratty, first job when home is doing the eBay thing for me lol