With the advent of social media and digital technology, sharing family photos has changed. In 1839 the first permanent photographic images were created with the daguerreotype which were printed on silver plated copper plates. These were followed by tin types which were commonly used during the time of the civil war. In 1889 George Eastman invented rolled film, followed closely by the Kodak camera. The early 1900's saw the invention of the 35mm camera. The 1940's brought the Polaroid camera and the 1980's introduced the disposable camera. Now, we have digital photography where you can upload your family photos instantly to your computer and share them within seconds with the entire planet.
Back in the days of cabinet photos and the brownie camera, people pasted their photographs into albums that often had ornate decoration on the covers. The pictures were often unmarked. If they were marked, removing the pictures from the albums was almost impossible without destroying the photos because the paste was permanent. In the 1970's, the photo album pages were pre-glued, so all you had to do was press the photos onto the page and they would stick. Of course, none of these methods were acid-free or archival. As a historian, it is disheartening to go through old albums in the collection of the Muskego Historical Society and to be unable to identify people in photographs. We have so many wonderful old images but do not know the names, places or dates of them.
Future historians will have even less to work with because people these days are even less likely to even put their pictures in an album. Everything is online. For the sake of future generations, I implore you to save hard copies of your favorite family images. Keep them in acid free scrap books or albums and mark them with the full names, places and dates of when they were taken. Your grandchildren will thank you some day.