In this third entry of our blog series (about archiving and preserving Lynn’s work – see earlier entries here), we’re covering ways of keeping and storing small works on paper.
Miscellaneous collections of paper (stacks & shoeboxes):
Lynn’s father-in-law, Tom, made scrapbooks of every piece of Lynn-related ephemera he could find.
Thanks to him, we have a rich collection of photos, newspaper clippings, and other tidbits from the first decade or so of her cartooning career. Without Tom’s efforts, we would have a lot more gaps in our strip collection, and far fewer pieces of fascinating correspondence between Lynn and her peers in the 80s.
The one drawback is that he employed a lot of sticky tape in his work, and so we’ve been forced to disassemble his collections, peel off the tape, and store similar items together.
Different types of paper have different levels of acidity, and some will ruin other papers they’re pressed against, so to halt the destruction of Tom’s work, we’re having to take it apart and sort the contents by type. His beautifully mis-matched mishmashes of “Lynn stuff” are being disassembled after 40+ years, but we’re trying to do it with respect for his work.
Taking his books apart is allowing us to build complete sets of news clippings, magazine spreads, correspondence and slicks (the syndicate-supplied printouts of the strips which were used for proofs before publication).
Some of Tom’s binders were developing a mold problem, so we’ve stored each sheet they contained in archival plastic sheet protectors. This way we can segregate the moldy pieces from the ones that are fine – and halt the spread of anything that may be trying to grow.
The plastic sheet covers make it much easier to flip through the binders – and add flags and labels – without degrading the paper, so that’s an additional benefit. We’ve also had to replace the binders: O-ring binders have a tendency to warp paper over time, where D-rings not only store more paper but allow sheets to lie flat. We’ve also been color-coding the binders to the decade, so it’s easier to find a piece we’re looking for.
More on scrapbooks:
Lynn’s mother was also a scrapbooker; she stored artwork, report cards and other bits from when Lynn was a very young girl in scribbler-style books. These pieces can’t be removed without damaging them, so we chose to interleave each page with acid-free tissue paper, and store the entire book in a temperature- and humidity-controlled location. We will be scanning each page as well and look forward to sharing some of them!
Presentation Books for Projects:
Once in a while Lynn created a series of drawings for a single project.
To keep these pieces together so the work was coherent, we slipped them into archival presentation books with a clear sheet of archival encapsulation plastic between pages. The plastic prevents two pages from touching, which is particularly important if they’re on different (or acidic) types of paper. It also stiffens the pages a bit, making them easier to turn.
In some cases, we’re storing papers that are smaller than letter-sized. For example, there are some greeting cards Lynn did in the early 80s. We chose to bind these using the archival sheet protectors so we can flip through the collection as needed to find older art to work with. Layering them with tissue paper in a box would have worked as well, but this way they’re easier to handle.
We hope you found this helpful!
- Rod's dad was the person who first thought of collecting all of the old strips in a file. Without him, Lynn's innate inertia and lack of concern would mean that the archives would have huge gaps in them.
- Ursula is depicted as a well-meaning amateur instead of a vandal.