Vinegar syndrome

Senator Hattie W. Caraway (Ark) with 1938 Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Buddy Poppy girl. By Arthur E. Scott, from the Arthur E. Scott photograph collection, C0096, Box 44. Special Collections and Archives, George Mason University

While processing the Arthur E. Scott photograph collection, approximately twenty negatives were separated due to vinegar syndrome. The term “vinegar syndrome” is used to describe the chemical deterioration found in acetate based film. The negatives show signs of deterioration in the vinegar odor they emit, as well as, bubbling, shrinking, and channeling on the surface of the film. In order to preserve the image before the film deteriorates further, we have scanned and saved the negatives at a high resolution. The above image is of the first elected female senator Hattie Caraway and a Buddy Poppy girl from 1938. Even though the image is obstructed by the white dots created by the vinegar syndrome, we are still able to see the subject of the image and will be able to preserve the digital surrogate into the future.

To see more images from the collection, a sample of almost 200 digitized images is available through this website.

This collection was reprocessed with funds provided by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.