Salted Paper Prints: Process and Purpose

A Collaborative Workshop in Photograph Conservation

Symposium: September 14 - 15, 2017
Harvard Faculty Club, Cambridge, MA
Organizer: Erin Murphy

September 13 and 16, 2017
Northeast Document Conservation Center, Andover, MA
Instructor: Amanda Maloney
Organizer: Monique Fischer


The salted paper print process, publicly announced by William Henry Fox Talbot in 1839, became the first negative-to-positive photographic technique. The ability to make photographic multiples revolutionized the way information was recorded and disseminated in the mid-19th century. These photographs represent records of the scholarly, social, and artistic endeavors of the time and play an important role in educational research across disciplines.

While many salt prints have survived as beautifully preserved images with rich tonal ranges, they can also be prone to fading and color shifts. New conservation research has assisted our understanding of these fragile items, and renewed interest in the historical and artistic aspects of salt prints has paralleled this preservation research.

The symposium presentations will span across the following topics:
  • Subject-based research as it relates to salt prints (Talbot, early photography, various geographical contexts - especially Europe outside of the United Kingdom)
  • Chemistry, Materials & Process
  • Characterization/Variants
  • Preservation
  • Contemporary Uses/Issues (imaging, exhibition, teaching, reading room guidelines, current areas of academic research)
You can view the symposium schedule and the paper abstracts online.


Salted Paper Prints Symposium
September 14 - 15, 2017, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Harvard Faculty Club, Cambridge, MA
$189 AIC members; $249 non-AIC members
Late Registration (after August 31): $210 AIC members; $270 non-AIC members

September 13, 2017, times vary (see below)
Free to symposium registrants

September 14, 5:30 - 7:00 pm
Houghton Library, Cambridge, MA
Free to symposium registrants

Salted Paper Printing Workshop*
September 13, 2017, 1:30 - 5:30 pm - FULL
September 16, 2017, 9:00 am - 1:00 pm - FULL
Northeast Document Conservation Center, Andover, MA
(Transportation between Cambridge and Andover will be provided - participants should plan to depart from Cambridge 1 hour prior to workshop start time)
$69 AIC members and Non-AIC members

*You must be registered for the symposium to be eligible to attend the workshops, tours, and reception

Click here to go to the AIC/FAIC store to register for this program

Online registration requires you to create a log-in (or to use one that you already have for our site) with a name and email address before you may purchase an event registration. No information aside from the username and email address is required to create a profile, but you will need a billing address to complete registration.

To register online first log in, then go to the store and select "events". Add the symposium to your cart. When you get to the page that allows you to select "continue shopping" you may do so to add workshop and/or tour registrations. To add additional registrations click "continue shopping," then select "sessions" from the drop down menu where you will find any workshops or tours available. 

FAIC's workshop and conference registration policies can be found here.

About the Symposium

Harvard Library and FAIC will present a multi-disciplinary, two-day program that focuses on the preservation, characterization, use, and interpretation of the salt print process, now over 175 years old.Scholarly presentations will include the technical history of salt prints, historical applications of the process for copying and disseminating information, and innovative material analysis. Emphasis will be placed on collaborative research which uses scientific and art historical evidence to shed light on the preservation of salt prints as well as the technical evolution and cultural impact of this seminal photographic process.

The symposium is a collaboration between Weissman Preservation Center and Houghton Library. Erin Murphy, Brenda Bernier, Elena Bulat, Melissa Banta, Hope Mayo and Penley Knipe are working to organize this program.

About the Workshop

A hands-on workshop hosted by the Northeast Document Conservation Center in nearby Andover will allow participants to explore the chemistry and artistic nuance of creating salted paper prints. The half-day workshop will be offered two times. Registration fee includes transportation between Harvard and NEDCC (plan to leave Harvard one hour before the workshop begins). Monique Fischer is organizing the workshops, which will be lead by Amanda Maloney.

The salted paper print was an early negative/positive printing process developed by William Henry Fox Talbot in England in the 1830s. Many beautiful examples of this process were created in the 19th century and can be found in a variety of photograph collections. This workshop will allow the participants to create their own salted paper prints by guiding them through the steps of the process. A brief lecture will acquaint the participants with the basic chemistry and variations of the process and discuss preservation concerns.

Who should attend? This workshop is designed for those with limited training in chemical photography who have an interest in learning more about salted paper printing. Pre-program and student participants are welcome as is anyone would like to get hands on experience printing.

Tours and Reception

Click here for a list of tours associated with this program

The reception will take place at Houghton Library on Thursday, September 14, 5:30-7:00 pm in the Edison and Newman Room. Attendees will be able to view the special exhibition, “William Henry Fox Talbot and the Birth of Photography: Salted  Paper Prints from the Harrison D. Horblit Collection.” Access to the exhibition is a rare treat as it will be open for just six weeks by appointment only.


View a list of accommodations compiled for the convenience of out-of-town visitors. Please note that AIC/FAIC and Harvard University in no way endorse these businesses.

Scholarship Funding

FAIC/Mellon Photograph Workshop Professional Development Scholarships
With funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, FAIC offers scholarships up to $1,000, plus waiver of registration fees, to help defray professional development costs for international attendees. Proposed projects are limited to expenses related to attending FAIC Collaborative Workshops in Photograph Conservation. Applications due February 15 and May 15.

FAIC/NEH Individual Professional Development Scholarships
With funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), FAIC offers scholarships up to $1,000 to help defray professional development costs for individual members of AIC who are U.S. residents. Proposed projects are limited to expenses related to attending FAIC workshops supported by the NEH. Applications due February 15 and May 15.


Donate to FAICWithout support, the registration fee for the symposium would be $370. FAIC relies on your contributions to support these and its many other programs.

Funding for this program comes from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation fund for Collaborative Workshops in Photograph Conservation and a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Additional funding comes from the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artist Works Endowment for Professional Development, which was created by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and is supported by donations from members of the American Institute for Conservation and its friends. Courses are made possible with the assistance of many AIC members, but no AIC membership dues were used to create or present this course. FAIC would like to thank the 2001 Photo Grads and the agencies and sponsors listed below for their generous donations to this program:



Contact: Sarah Saetren
FAIC Education Associate
(202) 661-8071

SACI Florence