Photos of gay wedding resurface decades after couple was denied them
© John J. Wilcox LGBTQ Archives

LGBT activists on two different coasts are searching for a couple pictured in a 1957 gay wedding ceremony after photos of the event surfaced recently and went viral online.

Bob Skiba, curator of collections at the John J. Wilcox Jr. Archives in Philadelphia, told The Hill that some of the 21 photos are there while the rest are at the ONE Archive in Los Angeles. 

Skiba says he has had the photos since 2013, and interest in them has piqued since same-sex marriage was declared constitutional by the Supreme Court in 2015.


The photos, which were developed in a Philadelphia drug store, show two men dressed in ties and wearing boutonnieres, kissing, flanked by groomsmen and cutting a cake.

However, when the owners came to pick up the photos from their special day more than 60 years ago, the drugstore deemed the pictures “inappropriate” and withheld them from one of the men who came to pick them up, NBC News reported.

The photos were recovered after a woman who worked at the drugstore stashed them away in case the couple came back for their photos. She planned to secretly give them to the customers, according to the woman’s daughter.

After the woman's daughter unearthed the pictures, she sold them on eBay in 2013, and they ended up at the ONE Archive foundation before ultimately returning to Philadelphia at the John J. Wilcox LGBTQ archives, according to NBC News.  

Although NBC News, the Philadelphia Citizen and other news outlets across the country have reported on the photos, no one has yet come forward to claim them.

Twitter users were quick to try to spread the photos online in hopes of finding the men and celebrating their wedding.

A team of writers and producers are now developing a series to search for the men, according to the William Way LGBTQ Community Center in Philadelphia, which owns the Wilcox archives. Advocates have also set up a website for those with information.