Information and discussion on all aspects of British photographic history
A few days ago a batch of Barnardo's magic lantern slides were listed for sale on Ebay. I shared this sad fact on another conversational site. So much archive potential turns up on Ebay as to make one weep. Sellers with a bit of archival sensitivity could well inquire to borough and other archives and offer their sellable treasures in the first instance 'to the nation' either for a negotiated price or, preferably, as a donation.
It was suggested to me that Ebay's Barnardo lantern slides were probably not of great archival value since they were likely manufactured as a series of copy-slides churned out from a master-slide retained by Barnardo's. Even so, I would contend non-master copies can contain an overlooked archival worth considering master copies can go astray or not be so ‘masterful’ for sustained damage. Slide-to-slide will have varied imperfections as to necessitate the archiving of multiple copies that with their clear parts can be observed and/or digitised together to see/make, once more, a clear masterful, albeit copied, whole. With ref to Ebay - that master copies, in any case, would be identifiable from slide labelling - I later, in returning to Ebay, noted some slides were labelled as “This Slide is the property of Dr. Barnardo’s” or “This Slide is the Property of the National Waifs Association (Dr. Barnardo’s Homes)”.
Wasn’t the Barnardo’s archive a year or so ago given over to some other body to digitise and ‘conserve’? Once digitised and with the collection held in an ethereal library do original corporeal slides and photos and what–have-you retain any archival status seeing as originals require particular, and often extensive, space and special storage conditions expensively organised?
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