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Hunt for same-sex couple who had wedding photos from 1957 confiscated

Hunt for same-sex couple who had wedding photos from 1957 confiscated

Historians are desperate to find a same-sex couple who had a wedding ceremony in 1957.

One man went into a photo shop in Philadelphia to try and get photos from the ceremony developed.

However, the owner had a policy of withholding developed photos if he deemed them ‘inappropriate’.

Moreover, the photo store had another policy. Staff were allowed to keep the confiscated pictures. An employee held onto the photos in the hopes the man would one day be back in for the photos.

But he never came back.

Discovering the wedding photos after 60 years

The Philadelphia Citizen reported:

The employee’s daughter discovered the photos in her home 60 years later, after she passed.

‘My mother had a photographic memory for faces,’ she wrote to the ONE Foundation, a LGBTI Los Angeles archive.

‘[She]  retained these in the event the customers who dropped them off ever came back to the shop so that she could give them to the customers on the sly.’

In 2013, she sold the photos on eBay to a donor who later gave the photographs to the archives.

Since then, historians have been looking for the two grooms.

‘Needle in a haystack’

The two men and their friends appear to be in their 20s and 30s. If they are alive today, they’d be in their 80s or 90s.

‘It’s a needle in a haystack. There’s too many questions and not enough information about this photo collection,’ said Michael Oliveira, an archivist at ONE.

‘While many people and families tend to stay put in the Delaware Valley area, we can speculate about where they were taken, who took the photos and so much more—and never arrive at an answer.’

John Anderies, director of the Wilcox Archives at the William Way LGBT Community Center, said the 50s time period is almost ‘inaccessible’.

‘We’re a generation removed, and there are only a handful of men—of gay men—from Philadelphia in their 90’s that are alive,’ Anderies said, as reported by the Philadelphia Citizen

‘The intergenerational exchanges we have during these events are invaluable. It’s an amazing transfer of knowledge between generations. I love mining their experiences, even if we cannot return these photos to the men or a living family member of theirs.’

See also

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