Framing Historical Documents and Autographs


Archival Framing

Conservation Framed President James Monroe Signed Document


As a long time collector of historical autographs and documents, I am still amazed at the way certain framers still frame such important artifacts.

Just recently, I saw a prominent dealer show examples of rare framed letters and documents that made me cringe. Some of the photographs showed examples of items that were improperly mounted.  One had a wood fillet up against the letter!  This is a big NO-NO!  Over time, the acids in the wood will migrate into the paper of the letter, causing an unsightly dark mat burn (or line) around the perimeter of the letter. (Due to copyright reasons, I cannot show their frame on this site).

Proper framing techniques

Vellum Document was professionally encapsulated in Mylar for maximum preservation

The most important consideration to follow is that the autograph come in contact with proper matting and glazing.  Doing otherwise will just cause it to deteriorate over time.  As a collector, I have removed frames (even recent framing jobs) from autographs to only be dismayed by what I see.  If it can be done, I have a paper conservator restore the item.  The unfortunate thing is that, in most cases, the item cannot be completely repaired. And, expert conservation is expensive.

Ironically, this is what led me into the conservation framing business.  In addition to design and aesthetics, framing should also contain important archival elements to maintain condition consistency over time.  Otherwise, why spend good money with a custom frame shop?

As I have mentioned on previous blogs, framing autographs should allow the consumer or collector to easily remove the item from the framing with no harm and no visible effects on it.  It is as simple as that.  Of course, environmental conditions can alter that, but it is minimized with proper framing techniques.

Most museums and organizations involved with antique paper will usually have a brief article on framing, like the Library of Congress or National Archives. 100% Cotton rag mat boards, High quality UV filtering glass and proper archival backing must be used to maintain the quality of the autograph being framed.

Categories: Alexandria framing, art, Autograph collecting, conservation care, Conservation Framing, custom framing, Document Framing, Framing, Historical Autographs, Military Framing, Museum Framing, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments are closed, but you can leave a trackback: Trackback URL.