Back in the 1970s, David Young bought a box of 73 vintage news photographs at a Philadelphia second-hand store. This year, he pulled them out of the kitchen cabinet of his Seattle home, where they have been languishing for decades, and realized that they were all lost photos by the great crime photographer Weegee, New York magazine reports.
Young reached out to Christopher Bonanos, Weegee‘s biographer, who quickly confirmed that the “A. Fellig” stamp and the handwriting on the back of the prints matched the artist’s. (Weegee’s real name is Arthur Felig.)
Most of the photos were completely unknown before the discovery. None had been catalogued in the archives of Weegee’s estate, which were left to New York’s International Center of Photography. Only a few of the images were ever published in New York newspapers.
“It’s like discovering 73 unknown poems by Walt Whitman or unearthing a novella by Melville,” Christopher George, the archivist who manages the Weegee collection at the the International Center of Photography, told New York magazine, calling it “an extraordinary find.”