Author Archives: albumenworks

About albumenworks

Founded in Chicago in 1976 by Doug Munson and Joel Snyder, CAW moved to the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts in 1982. The Chicago Albumen Works puts decades of experience to work for some of the finest collections from around the world. A combination of technical expertise and historical perspective, operating in a controlled, conservation environment, directs our solutions to the diverse challenges presented by photograph collections. At CAW, the synergy of technical understanding, a conservator’s approach, an artist’s eye and a historian’s perspective creates a unique, productive, and collegial environment.

Preserving a Heritage of Courage

“There can be no higher hope than that this heritage of courage, daring, initiative and enterprise will be conserved and intensified.” Franklin D. Roosevelt These words, in a letter from President Franklin D. Roosevelt, were broadcast around the world on … Continue reading

Posted in Archival Digitization, Book binding, Digital Imaging, Digital Printing, FADGI, Fine Art Reproduction, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Remember the Maine

Every image we work with is compelling in its own way but recently we received a box of 30 nitrate negatives for preservation that had appreciable historical significance. So badly curled, brittle, and stuck together were the almost 120-year-old negatives … Continue reading

Posted in Archival Digitization, Digital Imaging, Digital Restoration, FADGI, Negative Scanning, Nitrate Negative | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

CAW Digitization of Norman Rockwell Photos

The Chicago Albumen Works has worked with the Norman Rockwell Museum on a variety of digitization projects including the documentation of Rockwell’s magazine cover illustrations and his advertising work. Our most recent project with the museum was the digitization of over 20,000 photographs as part of the … Continue reading

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Before and After: 35mm Acetate Film Stripping

As we have posted previously, we have had some success treating deteriorating 35mm negatives by stripping the gelatin image layer from its acetate base. These are scans of the stripping project and experiments that we have been carrying out over the … Continue reading

Posted in 35mm Duplication, Acetate Deterioration, Acetate Film Conservation, Acetate Film Restoration, Archival Digitization, Digital Restoration, Negative Scanning | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Digitizing a Lincoln Ambrotype

In a recent collaboration with The Better Image, CAW created an in-depth, hi-resolution digital record of the ambrotype, Portrait of Abraham Lincoln, May 7, 1858, by Abraham Byers for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The portrait, taken by eighteen-year-old Byers, was … Continue reading

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Digital Restoration of Painted Photographs

Before color film became widely available in the 1950’s, hand coloring photographs with various pigments was a popular way to artistically enhance or add realism to monochrome photographs.  In the case of portraits, over painting could almost completely obscure the … Continue reading

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Stripping & Recovering 35mm Acetate Roll Film

Over the past few weeks we have been working on an exploratory project that involves the stripping of the image pellicle from strips of deteriorating 35mm acetate roll film from the 1950s. Our previous experience with stripping microfilm led us to the … Continue reading

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Digitizing Glass Plates for New York City Municipal Archives

  Over time the history of an institution is often captured through photographs of the people and events that helped shape it over the years. Digital technologies have made it easier to share these images and the stories they tell, … Continue reading

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Digitization for Private Collections

A recent Barron’s blog post featured quotes from Chicago Albumen Works’ Director Doug Munson. “Families that have approached us for digitization had private collections that have been passed down from the 19th and 20th century, and now there are three … Continue reading

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Negative Deterioration Part Two: Cellulose Acetate Negative Conservation

Vinegar syndrome, or the process of  cellulose acetate deterioration, is an unavoidable issue for any collection of acetate negatives, either presently or in future decades.  Before deterioration occurs or early in the deterioration process, preventative measures can be taken to … Continue reading

Posted in Acetate Deterioration, Acetate Film Conservation, Acetate Film Restoration, Archival Digitization, Archival Film Output, Collection Services, Negative Scanning, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment