The Unofficial Family Archivist: A Guide to Creating and Maintaining Family Papers, Photographs, and Memorabilia

Front Cover - The Unofficial Family Archivist: A Guide to Creating and Maintaining Family Papers, Photographs, and Memorabilia


From the Back Cover

Back Cover - The Unofficial Family Archivist: A Guide to Creating and Maintaining Family Papers, Photographs, and Memorabilia

“Within every home is a treasure trove of information. Unfortunately, many irreplaceable documents that help tell individual stories, and the stories of our communities, are deteriorating among our personal belongings.”

With that warning in mind, this book focuses on the care of personal papers, photographs, and memorabilia found in the typical home. Written for individuals who hope to protect family history, this book provides everything an unofficial archivist needs to ensure materials that connect us with our past are available for future generations. Its goal is to help you create and maintain a valuable family and community resource of recorded information about your world from the unique point of view of you and your loved ones.

The Unofficial Family Archivist is organized into eight sections that discuss preservation; creating and identifying materials that represent you; how to properly organize, preserve, and describe these items; how to prepare them to pass on to future generations. This book provides information to guide you so you may enjoy your materials, easily access them, feel comfortable that they will last for a long time and be treasured by your descendants.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Chapter One: Your Story
    • Personal Narrative
    • Why Save and Preserve Your Story
    • Understanding Communities
    • Documenting Communities
  • Chapter Two: Identifying Archives
    • What Are Archives?
    • Types of Archives
    • Value of Archives
    • Archives Collections
    • Documents about You
    • Appraisal
    • Common Personal Archives
    • Example: The Value of Personal Memorabilia
    • Sample Collection: The Ryans of Waltham
  • Chapter Three: Organizing Archives
    • Thinking about Order
    • Processing Records
    • The Value of Original Order
    • Active Versus Inactive Files
    • Balancing Digital and Printed Files
    • Scanning
  • Chapter Four: Describing Information
    • Archives Finding Aids
    • Preparing for Collection Description
    • Describing Groups
    • Additional Access Tools
    • Computerized Findings Aids
    • Model Collection—Elizabeth Robbins Berry of Carlisle
    • Model Collection—Elenita Chickering of Gardner
  • Chapter Five: Preserving Personal Papers
    • Introduction to Preservation
    • Keeping Ephemera
    • The Unique Needs of Newsprint
    • Diverse Papers
    • Making Do with the Materials You Have
    • Conserving Damaged Materials
    • Archives Supplies
    • Photographs
    • Preserving Audio-Visual Material
    • Disaster Planning
    • Factors That Cause Deterioration
    • Commonly Asked Questions about Preservation
  • Chapter Six: Ideas for Recording Unrecorded History
    • Documenting the Unrecorded
    • Identifying What Aspects of ME Are Unrecorded
    • Discover the Best Formats for Your Stories
    • Journaling
    • Oral History
    • Visual Media
    • Sense of Place
  • Chapter Seven: Electronic Information
    • The Digital World
    • Personal Computer
    • Personal Communication
    • Photographs
    • Re-creating "Real" Life Online
  • Chapter Eight: Planning for the Future
    • Passing Personal Papers to Loved Ones
    • Value of Personal Papers for Archives Repositories
    • Finding the Right Repository for Your Family Papers
    • Preparing Your Papers for Transfer
    • Making Your Donation Official
    • Collections with Monetary Value
    • Family Heritage for Sale
    • My Memories, Your Memories
  • Collections Mentioned in this Book
  • Glossary of Selected Professional Archives and Cultural Heritage Terminology
  • Bibliography
  • Index

This work is subject to copyright. All rights reserved. For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, write to melissa.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Mannon, Melissa
Preserving Memories: Maintaining Personal Papers, Family Photographs, and Memorabilia / Melissa Mannon.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN-13: 978-0-9827-27614
1. Archives—Administration. 2. Public history—United States.
Cover photo collage by Melissa Mannon. Image upper left—tintype of doctor, author’s collection. Image upper right—the author’s mother, Montreal, Canada. French correspondence—author’ s collection.

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