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Ghost Signs Before They Were Ghosts:

Preserving a 1913-1914 Photograph Album for the Coca-Cola Archives

The Coca-Cola Archives recently sent a rare photograph album to NEDCC for conservation treatment and digitization.

The album, documenting Coca-Cola painted advertising signs located up and down the east coast, was created by the sign-painting company as a method of recording their clients' work. Each page displays several snapshots and handwritten captions which indicate the locations of each sign.  In addition to the signs, the photographs often capture people in mid-stride, going about their daily lives, as well as many other minute details about the streets, buildings, and people of the time.

America's business archives hold collections that are often historically significant on a national level. They reflect the important role that American companies have played in America's history.

This photograph album has been a highly requested resource at the Coca-Cola Archives, and its deteriorating condition has made it extremely fragile to handle. “We were afraid to turn the pages,” said Ginny Van Winkle, Cataloging Archivist, “pieces of the brittle pages would crumble off every time we touched it.” The treatment and digitization will increase access to the photographs, while preserving the fragile original object.

The information contained in this unique photograph album can inform a wide range of interests. Historic preservation researchers can use the photographs to locate buildings and intersections and examine facades and structures in detail. Of course, those interested in Ghost Advertising will find a treasure trove of information here! 


Read the NEDCC Story and view intriguing images from the album as well as photographs of conservation treatment procedures.


Also watch the video tour of NEDCC and details about the Center's treatment and imaging of the photograph album, created by the Coca-Cola Archives' talented videographer.  The link to the video is at the end of the article. Enjoy!

NEDCC, 100 Brickstone Square, Andover, MA 01810-1494 • 978-470-1010 • nedcc.org


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