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Old envelopes, old businesses

When we first acquired some of the late Ken Magor’s vast collection of photographic negatives, many of the negatives were stored in second-hand envelopes that Ken had evidently scavenged from a variety of Newcastle businesses. Ken clearly needed something to store the negatives in, but in the late 1940s – in the wake of the war – many items were in relatively short supply. Ken was a master scavenger and he gathered large quantities of used envelopes from the printer Reg Pognoski, from the retail store Winns and from other sources as they became available.

After we bought the collection we invested in acid-free envelopes to improve Ken’s storage system, preserving his numbering and filing the negs away in special cabinets. But I couldn’t bring myself to throw away some of the envelopes. They aren’t valuable in any monetary sense, but they preserve some little fragments of history in the logos of the businesses they came from. Newcastle readers may find this sample from the collection interesting, since many of the businesses are – or were – very well known in the Hunter Region.

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