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Glued Photographs


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I just received a box of photos that belonged to my grandfather, a WWI Marine. Amongst them was an album filled with some of the best photographs. Because many of the loose photos have written descriptions (names, places, etc.), and at least one in the album has writing on the back, I suspect some of the ones in this album have important captions on the reverse.

 

All of the photos in this album are completely glued (entire backs, not just corners or spots) to the pages which are heavy black paper.

 

Id like to remove them all to access the backs, remove the black paper and glue, and then to scan each and preserve the originals properly.

 

How can they be separated from the pages and the paper and glue removed without losing what may be written on the backs or damaging the pictures?

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Try a humidity box on one of the less desirable photos. I've safely straightened rolled up yard-long photos this way with no damage at all to the photo. If you're lucky, the glue may become soft enough to safely remove the backing. Basically, I use a plastic storage tub with lid, place a block or plastic basket in the tub to set the photo on, add warm water (1/2 inch or so) to the tub and place the photo on top of the basket. Put the lid on the tub and wait 16-24 hours or more. Obviously, make sure the photo stays high and dry, out of the water. The high humidity works to flatten out the photo without cracking and it may release the glue bond. If it doesn't start to at least soften the glue, give it several more days to humidify. Hopes this works, by the way, what regiment/company was your grandfather in?

WW1 American items donations always appreciated!

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GWS - thanks very much for the advice. I’ll try it on one page to see if it will work. He was initially in 51st Co., 2/5, then was SGM of 2/5 and then 1/5. Commissioned after the Armistice and assigned to 67th Co., 1/5.

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GWS - thanks very much for the advice. I’ll try it on one page to see if it will work. He was initially in 51st Co., 2/5, then was SGM of 2/5 and then 1/5. Commissioned after the Armistice and assigned to 67th Co., 1/5.

 

Thanks for the unit info, I used to have an identified helmet from the 3/5. I hope the humidity box works, mainly so you can then post some of the photos on here! Seriously, if the glue used was like old wall paper paste, it should at least soften somewhat. If it was hide type(animal based) glue then it may prove to be a lot harder to remove. I forgot to mention that if any of the photos start to curl from the humidity you can "press" them back flat by covering the front of the print with plain white paper and place it between a couple of hardback books for a couple of days. If you get water on the print do not panic as they were originally processed with a water rinse as the final step anyway. Just gently blot them dry and let them sit for a day or so. Soaking them in water for more than a couple of minutes could prove to be risky as the original emulsion may start to dissolve. I would not try that myself because these photos are irreplaceable, but maybe consult with a photo restoration expert at that point. Good luck and looking forward to seeing some of your photos here soon.

WW1 American items donations always appreciated!

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