Not all newsprint is created equal. One of the more remarkable aspects of this page from the Parisian newspaper Le Charivari is how fresh it appears. Printed nearly 150 years ago, it bears very little of the yellowing that begins to occur with today’s newspapers after just a few days. One reason is because it contains little if any of the wood pulp that, just a few years after this edition of Le Charivari was printed, quickly became a major component of newsprint.
Another reason why this paper has remained in relatively good condition is evident from the darker stains at either end. For quite some time, perhaps for several decades or longer, most of the sheet laid beneath a protective covering while the exposed areas gradually acquired a sooty film. The damage, though, is not severe. Just prior to its mounting for the exhibition, the museum’s senior preparator removed half the stain in both areas by gently brushing grated particles of plastic eraser across the surface. The chances are good that the remaining residue, barely visible now, will be further reduced or eliminated in its entirety when the sheet is presented to the conservator.