Monday, June 20, 2011


With a new baby in our family, that of our oldest son J's, we are bombarded with photos and videos as though H is a  new rock star. His every move is followed by anxious parents who desire to preserve these precious moments, when, in thirty years or less, they can review and laugh and cry and remember.

A remark by daughter J over the phone after laughing about H's latest tricks, "I still love photo albums. I hope you haven't discarded those we've had all these years." This made me realize that all media is acceptable in this world. There will always be a need for the old fashioned photo album.

Next, our daughter said, "Mom, I hope you are scanning all those pictures we took on vacations. I want the originals." What a mass of responsibility she laid on my shoulders!  Thanks to my interest in genealogy and my subscription to, I have scanned everything I could find, noting online the important information as I remember. But the snapshots I failed to identify. I know, I should have listened all those years back about ID'ing the pictures. I said to myself then, "No one will forget the time and place!" That's a young mind thinking.

I'm reminded of the time I shuffled through very old albums belonging to my mother and mother-in-law. Both albums were created in the 1920's and 1930's. The pages frayed, no identification existed on any snapshot taken with the old Kodaks of the day. A glance and today we wonder who were those people with her? Is this taken in Havana when E visited there in the 1920's? Where was this taken? Is this Granmother's house? Questions that will  never be answered.

A recent email entry by concerns  preservation of photos and photo albums. The first photographic album was patented by F. R. Grumel of Geneva, Switzerland in 1861. The United States went crazy over these albums a year later when the Morning Oregonian of 1862 declared, "Everybody, now-a-days, must have a Photograph Album, to be in fashion." From then on just about everyone who owned a camera of snapshots possessed an album. Early albums with their black, rough but fragile papers have to be preserved, as well as the photos, to prevent further deterioration.

Unfortunately, to scan many of my mother and mother-in-law's photos, I tore apart the pages from their albums. No way could I detach the photos as the glue (probably flour and water) was strong enough to hold a battleship together. The albums themselves were non-descript, furthering my interest in dismantling them. My adult children will no doubt be disappointed at my actions.

There was a time when two of our three kids searched yard sales for old photo albums. They felt someone needed to preserve these treasures so blatantly discarded by hand-me-down owners. They enjoyed musing over the scenes taken during happy times. I began to realize how valuable was everyone's life history set in pictures, even to strangers. Saving these albums was like preserving antiquity.

My big problem now is what do I do with all those loose snapshots I dropped in Ziplock bags unidentified? Someone will need to know the circumstances for the camera shots. Let's see, a check of my calendar says I can start . . .

1 comment:

Anne said...

I have boxes and boxes of them. I know who and what most of them are, but will I get around to identifying them before I die? Probably not. All the people in them look happy. They are from past times, broken marriages, people who are now dead -- kids who have grown up. One begins to wonder if it really means anything.