If you look at a source like Library of Congress royalty free gallery, they go an extra step beyond just dumping a bunch of images, but provide them with Kodak Color Control Patches. This is nice, since I'm assuming it should allow me to reconstruct the exact appearance of the images. The problem is I have no idea how to use them properly.
I'm assuming there is some plug-in somewhere in Photoshop or some such program that you can point at the reference colour and grayscale blocks it will do the adjustments for you. But I have no clue how exactly to do it or where/what that plug-in or app is. Such app would also have to know what those colours are supposed to be as opposed to what they appear as on the image, but I'm assuming there should be a standard for this. Does anyone have any experience with this and can point me in the correct direction (a tutorial would be most welcome).
Update: Since I didn't realize that there are 2 interpretations for my question, I will clarify:
I was not hoping that I could use the patches to restore the print to what it looked like when the artist created it, but that I could use them to remove whatever effect the camera/lighting/environment added or took away from what the picture actually looks like at the moment it was photographed.