There isn’t much that can be done without substantial investment. The yellowing is a function of the manufacture of the paper. To deacidify the whole book would cost many times the book’s value. About all you can do is be careful with it. I have several fragile and deteriorating books that I have photocopied for regular use and put the original out of harm’s way.
Actually, if the binding is strong, I would Xerox the whole thing to preserve it. Put the original in an archival-quality sleeve and consult only the Xerox. Short of some VERY expensive preservation, I suspect the high-acid wartime paper only has a few decades left in it.
Doc: I have many Soviet books printed before, during, and after the Great Patriotic War and the paper in most of them is a very poor grade paper with a high-acid content. Even up through the 1970s their typical paper was almost manila colored when new and produced very poor photographic images. I doubt there is much that can be done to preserve that paper. Living in a dry, low-humidity climate is some help – since I moved to the semi-arid climate of the Sacramento Valley I have noticed less yellowing of the pages.
Dick Flory, JOMSA Editor
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