Removing stuck photos from album--A Warning #general

Ava Cohn <avatom@...>

Dear JewishGenners,
Rosannne Leeson asked about removing stuck photos >from an album. I
received this message late but feel compelled to answer (for the
sake of preserving the photo and what may be written on the back).
There have been several suggestions to soak the photo or use liquids
such as lighter fluid.

***Please do not use any liquids on your photo!***

You run the risk of not only ruining the photo but smearing the ink
or smudging the pencil that may be on the back. Un-Du may be used
carefully but remember that once it dries, the backing becomes sticky

My advice, as others have given, is to first scan the photo in the
highest dpi (dots per inch) you have available but at least a minimum
of 600dpi. This is a just in case tactic but will at least preserve
the image on the front side. Secondly, if there is a part of the
photo that is not as tightly stuck, try using a sheet of acid-free
paper and gently work it between the photo and the album page to
loosen the photo without bending it. You can also try using a piece
of waxed dental floss worked between the photo and the backing
material to manually remove the photo. A heated scalpel or spatula
or a "hot knife" like a flat blade exacto with a heating element,
available >from stores specializing in preservation supplies, can
also be used.

If all else fails, take the photo to a professional photo preserver
to have it removed. If the preserver says that the photo will not
make it because of its condition or the backing, then don't have it
removed, despite what you may think is on the backside. Our photos
are precious documents. Once they are lost, they can never be
retrieved as they were in their original state. It is unfortunate
that many of our ancestors did not know about proper care of their
photos, but we as genealogist have a responsibility to preserve
what has been passed down to us.

I hope this advice is helpful and reaches you in time to preserve
your photo.

Ava Cohn
Long Grove, IL