Most of us comb through a lifelong collection of personal papers and photos either when we have plenty of free time (typically in retirement) or when we have to deal with the belongings of a deceased loved one.
All too often the job seems so daunting and overwhelming that our natural response is to get discouraged and say, “I don’t know where to begin” or “It’s too much; I’ll do it some other time” or worse, “I’ll just get rid of it all.”
At Oxford Duplication Centre, our archivists process every type of collection imaginable. We often acquire personal papers and mementos, things that had special meaning to the owner, not only letters and photos but also locks of hair, newspaper clippings and documents. Some collections arrive neatly organised and others arrive heaped into makeshift containers.
“Not everyone values this stuff but if you archive it, it will be there for somebody in a later generation. There may be one person who really cares about their family hi…