With the recent and very sad passing of the astronomer, Sir Patrick Moore, I have read several articles which highlighted the many letters Patrick used to send to astronomy enthusiasts of all ages and abilities, bashing out his considered and lengthy replies on his old typewriter in response to queries.
My husband’s late father was one such fortunate recipient, having received a signed, two-page letter from Patrick. The letter is now in my husband’s possession and, prompted by the same articles I’d read, it once again saw the light of day to be re-read.
These days, however, it’s safely stored inside a conservation grade folder and box. In fact, it has been ever since I was first told about it, as I knew both how precious it was and how it could degrade without intervention. The letter itself is printed on a thin, low-grade paper, prone to rapid deterioration. The ink, likewise, is of a typical fax ink, which is keen to fade in the light.
One further benefit of its custom-made folder is that the letter is now stored in such a way that it doesn’t require handling to be read. Protected from dust, light and acidic materials, I feel gratified that it is safely preserved for my husband for many years to come.