Can an old, faded telegram be restored?
Q. Dear Donia,
I have a Western Union telegram that was sent to my grandmother when my dad was wounded in the Philippines during WWII. It has been faded by sunlight to the point that it looks blank. Is there any hope of having this document restored or is it lost forever? Thanks for your time, John
A. Dear John,
I am so sorry to hear that your telegram has faded. Unfortunately, this is not uncommon for telegrams of this era that were displayed for a long period of time. The ink used for the ticker tapes adhered to the telegram page itself is very light sensitive as it comes from a family of inks based on aniline dyes.
The best thing that I can recommend is to find someone who can get a very high-quality scan of the telegram and have someone versed in image manipulation bring back the writing. Look for someone in your area that does digital photo restoration—they would be the logical first step.
I am sorry I couldn't give you a better answer, but this is one of these cases that we just can't reverse.