Over the years I’ve acquired many magazine holders for my growing collection of genealogy journals and periodicals. The situation looked something like this:
Not bad, but I was always running out of room in the boxes. Recently, I bought some loose single copies of the Rhode Island Genealogical Register, to fill in some gaps in my collection of the bound volumes. I knew I didn’t want to throw the loose volumes in a box. Then I would have to pull out all 20 of them to find one issue.
The idea of grouping my issues by year came from this 1923 issue of The New England Historic Genealogical Register that I acquired a few years ago at a book giveaway table at a Rhode Island Genealogical Society meeting.
I was fascinated with the modest efficiency of what is, essentially, a bookcover. It serves as a faux binding for an index volume and four issues. Because it’s labelled, you can more easily find the issue you are looking for than in those boxes.
Making the journal covers
I gathered up some paper, tape, cardboard and my trusty P-touch label maker.
I got some drawer lining paper with a coupon at Michael’s. It was conveniently cut in sheets that were a perfect size for smaller journals. I also tried some shopping bags, but decided in the end they were too thick.
It’s like making a bookcover, except you add some light cardboard to the inside cover, one in the front of the first issue and one in the back of the last issue, and tape the bookcover to the cardboard to add structure. NOTHING gets attached to any journal issue. The 2 or 3 issues in the middle of the set are, essentially, loose and could fall out, but it’s surprising how well these hold together.
I tried to use the shopping bags, but only managed to use them on 2 covers when I decided they were too stiff and bulky. I decided wrapping paper would be better, but good quality wrapping paper, like the kind you get at the Container Store. Fortunately I had hit their Dec 26 sale pretty hard last year, so I looked over my supply. Wow, Christmas-y. Oh well. I like Christmas.
For the larger journals, I cut up wrapping paper. It worked very well. And it was cheerful looking.
When I was done, the journals were all separated by year and easy to find.
Making it work
- This lends itself to using what’s around, although my idea about shopping bags didn’t work.
- Instead of drawer liners I think another time I would go with all wrapping paper, and, with more planning, not Christmas paper. For people who save wrapping paper from use to use, this could work well. But it would have to be heavy.
- Rolls of shelf lining paper might work or, of course, the ubiquitous brown paper bag, or brown wrapping. Almost any large sheet of paper is a possibility.
- Another time I might be more careful about matching all issues of something in one paper. Although in subsequent years it’s bound to get mixed up anyway.
- For those worried about the loose issues inside, an elastic from top to bottom would protect them more in the case of an earthquake or a broken shelf, and wouldn’t show.
- For the cardboard inside the front and back cover, large postcard ads worked well, or shirt cardboard, old folders, even large index cards for the smaller journals. It need not be absolutely as large as the cover.
- Another time, I would make labels on the computer. It took too long with the P-touch.
I did about 30 volumes; the rest are elsewhere in the bookcase. I’m keeping some holders around for new issues. I guess I would have to do this once a year.
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