I get these documents and they have
names on them, occasionally photographs. There is a privacy issue,
or the potential of one. Maybe the person in question is alive, or
maybe a relative is. Perhaps that person or associate might object to the
publication of the document or picture. What to do? Ignore
the issue? Never publish data in that category? Something in
On my desk as I write this is a little pocket card from the NYC police department indicating that the guy in the picture was an "air raid protection service post warden" during World War II. The picture is of a guy who would probably be about 120 years old today. His descendants, if he had any, can be reasonably assumed to be alive. Would they curse and moan at the exposure of his memory or would they jump at the chance to retrieve his lost document?
What I won't do is try to track down the descendants.
Another layer obtains in the case of militaria - feelings of pride, perhaps in some cases shame. When people bring me the box of junk they got out of their grandma's closet after she died and there are grandpa's service medals I always suggest before I buy them that they consider keeping them and making a little memorial plaque about the guy for the great-grandchildren. Then I buy them when they say they don't care.
Similar, but mirror-image, in the case of documents involving criminals.
My first attempt at a policy about
1) names will not be publicized, pictures will not be displayed until 75 years have passed, more or less. You can get in touch with me if you want the names.
a) exception: uniformed services, "in the public eye"
I think that about covers it.
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