5 Easy Steps to Preserving Newspaper Clippings 2

Obituaries, marriage announcements, birth announcements are just a few of the types of newspaper clippings that can be in genealogical records. Are you archiving and preserving them so they don’t harm other documents? Yes, newspaper clippings and news print can harm, even damage, other documents. The paper used for newspapers are very acidic.

The chemicals in newspaper print, if it comes in contact with another document, can leave an orange or dark stain. You don’t want this to happen to your original documents such as death certificates, birth certificates and marriage records. The damage done by newspaper print is not reversible!

Here are 5 easy steps that the home archivist can use to archive newspaper clippings:

  1. Digitize the newspaper clippings. This can be done by scanning or photographing them, then saving them to a computer, thumb drive or backup hard drive. This is a great preservation step that we should be doing with all our documents, photographs and genealogy records. Once you have digitized the newspaper clipping, you can decide to keep the clipping or throw it away.
  2. Make good quality photocopies of the clippings. Be sure to record the source citation of the clipping, if there is any, on the photocopy with a soft #2 pencil. Many newspaper clippings don’t have the date or name of the newspaper because that information was clipped off. Use archival photo paper to insure your copies will not damage other documents they touch. Once you have made a good quality copy, again, you can decide to keep the newspaper clipping or throw it away.
  3. If you decide to keep your newspaper clippings, purchase archival safe sleeves to store the newspaper clippings. Archival sleeves will protect the clippings and prevent any damage they may cause by touching other documents in your collection. These sleeves can be purchased at any online archival materials supply stores (see list below). They come in many different sizes and shapes.
  4. Only put one clipping in one sleeve. Stuffing the sleeve with newspaper clippings could damage them. Newspaper clippings, in sleeves, will insure that they don’t touch any other documents.
  5. File the preserved newspaper clippings in genealogy files, 3-ring binders or wherever genealogical records are stored. Be sure the temperature and humidity levels in that storage area are consistent. Temperatures should be around 65 degrees and the humidity levels should be at about 35%. Do not store genealogical records in an attic or in a basement.

These 5 easy steps will insure the newspaper clippings are preserved and the information contained in them is saved.

CAUTION: Do not laminate newspaper clippings or any genealogical documents. The laminating sheets contain chemicals that can leech into the documents and destroy them over time. Lamination is very difficult to reverse. Do not do anything to documents that can’t be undone.

Be sure to store all genealogical records, newspapers and newspaper clippings in a cool, dry and dark place. Newspapers deteriorate very rapidly when stored in a warm and humid environment.

Newspapers and newspaper clippings can be gold mine for the genealogists. Be sure to preserve the ones you have!

Archival Materials Stores:


About Melissa Barker

Melissa Barker is a Certified Archives Manager for the Houston County, TN. Archives. She also lectures, teaches and writes about researching in archives and records preservation. She writes her own blog and has written articles for several publications. She is affectionately known as The Archive Lady. She is also a Professional genealogist that works with clients researching their Tennessee ancestors.

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2 thoughts on “5 Easy Steps to Preserving Newspaper Clippings

  • Jerilyn Stead

    I am on the Board of the Historical Society in Millbury, MA We have some very old newspapers that we would like to make copies of while they are still intact. They are large and I was told I need to find a printing company that has flatbed scanner. I’m unable to find any printer in Worcester county who has one of these. Do you know of anyone on MA who has one of these scanners?