Framing newspapers…

November 24, 2008 by · 2 Comments 

      Tim Hughes, founder

Tim Hughes, founder

One of the joys of collecting newspapers is sharing with others, but sharing can be problematic given the fragile nature of early paper.

Certainly 20th century newspapers offer the largest & most dramatic headlines–some taking the entire front page–but 18th and 19th century issues can be displayable as well. Civil War era newspapers occasionally had large front page maps, and others included graphic devices which draw much attention. And Harper’s Weekly and Leslie’s Illustrated issues of the 19th century offer a wealth of displayable prints. Even some 18th century newspapers have graphically appealing mastheads which make them perfect for display, not to mention many with wide, black “mourning rules” signifying the death of someone of prominence. But smaller headlines–typically just one column wide–and major content often appearing on inside pages do present challenges for proper display, but can be done. Such headlines on inside pages can be creatively folded, matted and framed in such a way to feature a somewhat small yet very significant report.

This relates to one of the common question received from customers: can historic newspapers be framed? The short answer is yes, in fact many of our issues are framed and hanging on walls in our office. But care must be taken to use only archival materials when selecting mat boards and backing boards so no acids transfer from the framing material to the newspaper. Virtually all professional framers use archival material today so this warning is more for those who choose to do their own work.

UV glass is important as well, and again is typically available through professional frame shops. This glass will filter out much of the harmful ultraviolet rays which may, in time, do damage to the newspaper if exposed to sunlight. But just to be sure I take care to hang newspapers in locations where little or no sun will touch the frame throughout the day.

So for those beautiful headlines in your collection which beg to be displayed, feel free to do so–but include some common sense as well.

Do you have newspapers from your collection framed?  Feel free to share.