I would endorse Nat Alcock's note of caution about discarding 'fragments,
illegible'. Wearing an archivist's hat, it is tempting to consider that they
are all of no use.
However since working on the biography of Silas Burroughs (of Burroughs,
Wellcome & Co), I have been struck by how often such fragments in his
personal papers have yielded unexpected information of value.
Recognition of the writer, or a clue that links a fragment to another item,
is not always easy or possible for the hard pressed cataloguer. Better
sometimes to retain the fragments,(which may include newspaper cuttings by
the way), even if that is how they have to be described, than discard them
Wellcome Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL
020 7254 9514
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