A. First, you’ll want to determine if the negatives are safety-based film. Some early negatives are made of highly flammable nitrate and must be handled carefully. If the word safety doesn’t appear along the edge of your negatives, or the if the film has a noxious odor, you may have a nitrate negative. Read the Northeast Document Conservation Center’s guide for more on identifying and handling nitrate negatives.
You have a couple of options for obtaining prints of older black-and-white negatives. Most standard photo developers should be able to produce a print the same size as the negative (called a contact print) for a reasonable fee. Enlargements are more expensive.
A photo specialty store (not a one-hour processing setup) that offers photo finishing may be able to produce standard 4×6-inch prints if your negatives are larger than 35mm. The lab I use for professional projects charges $3 per picture.
You also can call local photographers who have darkrooms and ask about contracting with them to do the work. I’d begin by calling the photography department at a nearby college or university to inquire about students who might be interested in printing your negatives for a fee. Also look under “Photo Finishing” or “Photo Restoration” in the Yellow Pages.