It was difficult to unroll my grandpa's diploma, but at some point I managed to do so without destroying it, and I attempted to flatten it out by storing it under a heavy load of books. After awhile, I put it into a large Itoya Art Profolio Presentation Book/Portfolio, which is a great solution for storing oversized documents, newspaper pages, artworks, and such. I've stored the portfolio flat under a metal shelving unit in my den for years. Still, when I open the cover, the pocket page holding the diploma tries to curl up a bit.
But let us not belabor that point now. Today we are here to discuss my second rolled-up 17" x 22" diploma. Now, there's something I never expected to say. The new one is the 1918 nursing school diploma of Elma Graver Williams, Alice Wilcox's mother.
The first thing I did when I received it was to begin the process of unrolling it. I didn't try to flatten it all the way out immediately, for fear of cracking the paper. I just did my best to loosen up the roll a bit, and I let it rest that way for a day or two. When I was able to get it to lay more or less flat between two foam-core boards, I left it to relax for another day or two with just enough weight on the boards to keep the diploma from popping itself back into a roll.
I can't tell you the diploma is ready to lay flat, but at least I was able, with great care, to get it onto my 11" x 17" scanner bed--first the left side, then the right side, and then put the two scans together, cropped off the large margins, and reduced the size for your viewing pleasure.
You'll notice that the calligrapher misspelled Elma's middle name, which really is Graver, not Grover. I do have the Paint Shop Pro skills to fix that error and, reader, it took considerable reining in of my OCD not to become a revisionist historian!
This diploma now has its own pocket page in the portfolio with my grandpa's. Both still wish to curl up. Don't hesitate to leave a comment if you've been successful with a safe method of resolving this problem.