The photographic negative Mona Vance-Ali held in her hand was stiff and crinkled, tinted bright blue from chemical off-gassing. She said it was from around the 1940s or '50s. Nearly 70 years after it was made, on Wednesday at the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library, the image wasn't even visible.
Vance-Ali examined one of the yellowing envelopes containing similar-looking negatives in one part of the library's Carl Brown collection, encased in a receptacle about the size of a shoebox.
"That's rank," she said, smelling the envelope's opening.
After the library was awarded a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities on Wednesday, historical photographs like those in the Carl Brown collection can hopefully be restored and preserved.
"We're very excited," Vance-Ali said. "This just helps us in our larger mission of preserving the history and culture of Lowndes County."