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PPP’s Top Ten Archival Finds 2011-2012: The Countdown

December 30, 2012

The last 12+ months have been extraordinary ones for us, the professional archivists at Ann Arbor-based Priceless Photo Preservation.

During our first year in business, we have helped local families restore, preserve and rediscover some of their lost family treasures by digitizing their scrapbooks, photos, slides, home videos and movies.

We have met some wonderful people along the way, blazed new ground in personal archiving and have given folks a substantially more  palatable alternative to the big-box stores and internet retailers who treat your precious memories as mere commodities.

We have also come across some genuine historical items, both unusual and extraordinary.

To commemorate these finds, as 2012 draws to the close, we will spend the next few days reviewing PPP’s top 10 archival treasures of the last year – a few of which may be completely new to you and one of which has never been seen before in any form.

One important note: We do not own these materials or have any of the rights to them, so please do not contact us, asking for copies, etc. We are showing these discoveries only after receiving permission from our clients, who retain all rights to the material when we convert and digitize their items.

No. 10 – Detroit Tigers vs. Oakland Athletics June 17, 1996. Perhaps it takes a true Tigers fan to appreciate this bit of nostalgia, but this brief snippet of a Tiger game from 16 years ago offers a few unique treats: Tiger greats Cecil Fielder and Alan Trammell at the plate, albeit unsuccessfully. And a glance back to the friendly confines of Tiger Stadium, the ballpark of many childhoods.

No. 9: Gemini 4 Astronauts Ed White and James McDivitt at Willow Run Airport c. 1965 This is from an 8mm film conversion that we did for a client about a year ago. The Gemini 4 flight was notable because it was the first mission to include a spacewalk. Also, White – the astronaut who performed the spacewalk – would be among the three astronauts killed  when the Apollo 1 rocket exploded on the launchpad in January, 1967. Please note that this conversion was completed before PPP upgraded its equipment to include specially modified flicker-free projectors.

No. 8: 1978: Notre Dame-Pittsburgh game featuring Joe Montana. The clip below is one of PPP’s crowdsourcing success stories, We converted this Super 8 film for a client who had no idea which Notre Dame game this was or in what year it took place. After doing some detective work of our own, we were able to identify the opponent to be Pittsburgh. But what year? That’s where Notre Dame fans stepped in. After we posted this conversion on a Fighting Irish message board, fans were able to identify this as the 1978 game, thanks to the color of the uniforms and the number on the back of the Notre Dame quarterback, who turned out to be future NFL Hall of Famer Joe Montana.

No. 7: Scrapbook of former Tuskegee Airman Louis Davis.

One of our first projects was to digitize this scrapbook for the son of Davis, a Detroit native who was assigned to Tuskegee after getting drafted for World War II. Davis was not a pilot, but a member of the support staff. Nonetheless, the scrapbook is filled with photographs of aircraft, pilots and other artifacts that defined the famous Alabama base. One of Davis’ duties at the base was to be the driver for its visitors – including the famous singer Lena Horne, who also is pictured in the book. We hope to bring you more about this extraordinary scrapbook in the future.

From Tuskegee

No. 6: 1998 Post_Rose Bowl Parade in downtown Ann Arbor, 1998.

One of our more recent discoveries, this is camcorder footage we digitized of the last-minute parade arranged by the University of Michigan athletic department after the Wolverines won the 1998 Rose Bowl to capture a share of that year’s national title. It features Charles Woodson, riding in a car with his Heisman.

We’ll post discoveries 1-5 later this week – including one find just unearthed and never seen publicly before now.

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