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Maybe that senior citizen down at the hair salon can be of help if you don’t have a sense of historic styles, and of course there is always the Internet.

Just type in “hat styles of the 1930s, or 1940s,” or whatever year you can guess and then compare what you have to what was popular at the time.

If all else fails, you can write “c.1940,” which is the abbreviation for “circa 1940,” which is fancy art history speak for “around 1940.” Voilà, you’re an art historian. But seriously folks, the following are some easy dating references commonly found on photographs and other media, and more information can be found at the Image Permanence Institute’s Graphics Atlas website, perhaps the most comprehensive resource out there for identifying and dating photos, by clicking Note the dates, subjects and locations indicated on various elements of this particular box of 35mm color slides.

Also notice that there is no chicken wing sauce on any of these irreplaceable artifacts (see Blog #3). This is another example of why it is recommended that original boxes and envelopes be kept, as they often offer a wealth of information.

All of this information will be transferred to archival enclosures that will safely protect these slides from moisture, dust, fingerprints and other hazards to their long-term survival.Fortunately, my paternal grandfather was not only a prolific amateur snapshot photographer he was also a stickler for organization, at least when it came to his snapshots. THIS is why I’m keeping prints and negs in the same original envelopes until the time comes to transfer them—and this important identification info—into archival print and negative envelopes, archival print pages, or archival albums.When such date references are not found, dating photos is still possible by asking those who are in them what’s what.For example: “Hey, Grandma, I found these pix of you and some guy (who, unfortunately, isn’t Grandpa) out at some beach somewhere. ” If Grandma’s not around cuz she “stepped out”—if you get my drift—then you can ask mom or dad, as they might know through their knowledge of family history.

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