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Photo albums, treasure the traditional

Updated on February 2, 2013

One of my most treasured items in this world isn’t something that costs lots of money. Nor does it have value to anyone but me. But I bet if you asked just about any person in my town, they would agree- traditional photo albums full of photos are very special indeed.

First Photo Albums

Running my hand along the spines of the books which chronicle my family’s history and the back drops of their lives, I see a progression. The first old leather bound album contains heavy paper. The black and white photos are mounted on the even blacker paper pages with adhesive corners. As a child I always remember my mother cautiously letting me hold this one. She was so concerned that the photos would free themselves and slip out of the book to the floor. My eyes travel over the paper. Sadly, some of them are faded and discolored from air and acid exposure.

Childhood Photo Albums from the 70's and 80's

Next my eyes travel down the shelf to the 70’s and 80’s when I was a child. My hand pulls a deep burgundy album from its resting place. Opening it reveals thick pages covered in plastic or cellophane. The photos are stuck under the plastic, as flies on a glue strip to the thin adhesive lines that run vertical tracks up the white pages. One photo of me and my first pony catches my eye. I find myself carefully trying to peel it from its rubber prison in hopes of reading some small printing on the photo’s back. I vaguely remember this photo from some 15 years before. The photo bends and has a small tear once my mission is finished. But the printing, “Doodle Bug and Sue at Connie’s” make me smile in remembrance.

Photo Album

Photo Album,from myhandbound at flickr
Photo Album,from myhandbound at flickr

Photo Albums from the past

Vintage Photo Albums
Vintage Photo Albums

Wedding Photo Albums

Down to the next book rack I go. My heart was the one that chose the next one. Ten years old now and with my married name engraved on the front, it seems to slide off of the shelf into my hands by its own accord. "The Lemmon Wedding Photo Album" stretches gracefully across the cover. The front page carefully turns back. It reveals photos from around our wedding day, our first house, our first dreams together. These photos, many more to a book that the other older albums, take my heart and mind more time to traverse. The thinner poly (plastic looking) sleeves take up much less space than their predecessors. As one after another catch my eye, I simply slide one out of its simple sleeve. A smile traces its way across my face as I see my newly acquired (through marriage) niece. Only five at the time, my smile broadens as my eyes stray to the next photo. She always did place herself squarely between us on the love seat on Sunday afternoons. Today, a lady of sixteen, she would turn three shades of red from the contense of this photo. Anyway…

Baby Photo Album

Finally my journey ends at the last album. About five years old, it is the beginnings of a scrapbook of our first son. White blond hair, pacifiers, and soft blue baby clothes make my wet eyes wonder how they can get large so quickly.

There are more empty photo albums, stacked at the end of the shelf. I find myself longing to see them filled. I guess I’d better get to work on it. A dresser drawer and a file box are filled to the hilt. Four little ones don’t leave a whole lot of time for filling the albums.

As my eyes travel back up the shelf, I already know my favorite type of album. The thin poly sleeves with no adhesive or acid will be my choice. The new sleeves I ordered from the online photo company are a wide variety of sizes. I even included some full sheet ones to house some of my favorite short stories I wrote in college, cards from dear friends, and artwork from my children.

Scrap Booking

Scrapbooking is so neat, and someday I may set more of my attention to telling and even broader and richer story with backgrounds, cute little puffy stickers, scraps of cloth, and a baby curl or two. But for now I would love to dive into the boxes and slide my memories one at a time, like a boat into a boat slip, into their photo holders.


Pioneer Photo Albums

Pioneer Photo Album
Pioneer Photo Album

Pioneer Photo Albums

One company that did catch my eye on line was Pioneer Photo Albums. They make a wide variety of albums and photo slip covers. Acid free and lignin free, their products are advertized as photo safe.

I believe with my older albums, I will transfer my photos over to these archival photo holders. Easy access to the photos, much more space economizing than the old photo albums, and the safest in terms of possible damage to the photos, I think a Pioneer Photo Album will make a good choice.

Traditional Photo Albums are not as easy to come by these days. Online options for photos is great, but we all like the tangible as well.

Thanks for reading! Sue


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