Historians search for couple in long-lost 1957 gay wedding photos

one archives foundation philadelphia gay couple same-sex wedding
Photo: Courtesy of the One Archives Foundation

US historians and LGBTIQ advocates are searching for the couple pictured in a 1950s gay wedding ceremony after long-lost photos resurfaced.

The photos were developed in a Philadelphia chemist sometime in 1957. They show the two men kissing, flanked by groomsmen and cutting their wedding cake in an apartment.

The black and white snaps of the secret, intimate ceremony made their way to the ONE Archives Foundation in Los Angeles and the John J. Wilcox Jr. Archives in Philadelphia.

The daughter of a woman who worked at the chemist found the images after her mother’s death. It’s believed one of the grooms took the pictures to the chemist, but staff told him the photos were “inappropriate”. They withheld them, and the gay couple never saw them.

“My mother had a somewhat photographic memory for faces and 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,” she said.

But sadly, the chemist worker was never able to.

The daughter found the gay wedding photos 60 years later after her mother’s death. She sold them on eBay in 2013 to a buyer who passed them to the archivists.

The couple’s touching photos have now gone viral online.

Historians searching for gay couple in the wedding photos

Now LGBTIQ history buffs are calling out for information on the couple. They hope that the men can be identified and finally receive their wedding pictures.

The pair would likely be in their late 80s or early 90s if still alive.

A team of writers and producers are also developing a documentary series on the search for the couple in the gay wedding photos.

“We’re thrilled that these photos of everyday love, hidden for over six decades, are finally coming to light,” ONE Archives executive director Jennifer C. Gregg said.

“Preserving and sharing these stories of the LGBTQ community ensures that we are and remain visible.

“Like the photographs, the personal effects and memories of LGBTQ lives have for too long been discarded or destroyed. The ONE Archives Foundation began in 1952 with our founders literally dumpster-diving to save our history.”

The rest of the wedding photos can be viewed at the website here.


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