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Edith Shain,The Nurse from WWII's Famous Times Square Kiss Photograph, Dies

Times-square-kiss-200x300Who doesn't know this famous photograph of an American soldier kissing a nurse in New York's Times Square? The photo, V-J Day in Times Square (aka VJ Day, among other names), was taken on Victory Over Japan Day on August 14, 1945 and grew to iconic proportions after being published in LIFE Magazine.

Edith Shain, the nurse in the photo, passed away on Sunday, June 20 in Los Angeles at the age of 92.

The photograph, taken by photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt, was originally published in a 12-page spread in LIFE Magazine called "Victory".

Life-times-square-kiss
photo: LIFE photo archive

While many of the kissing photographs during that time were staged, Eisenstaedt managed to capture a spontaneous moment between these two as the United States celebrated the end of its war on Japan following President Truman's seven o'clock announcement, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Edith-shain-nurse  The identities of the people in the photograph have never been concretely established, because their faces are obscured in the image, but Edith Shain, who was working at the Doctor's Hospital in New York during WWII, wrote Eisenstaedt a letter in the 1970s claiming that she was the famous nurse. Other women tried to lay claim to their place in the iconic photograph, as well, but Shain's is the widely accepted identity of the nurse pictured.

When a call was put out by LIFE Magazine to find out the identity of the soldier, at least eleven men and three women came forward. After several claims resulted in forensic study, court cases, and polygraph tests, it was finally established in 1988 that Glenn McDuffie was the most likely sailor to have spontaneously grabbed Edith Shain on his way out of the subway.

Edith-shain-glenn-mcduffie
Glenn McDuffie (left) and Edith Shain (right)

True fact? This is what McDuffie had to say about kissing Shain:

I know Edith Shain was the woman I kissed because she had the biggest mouth of anybody I've ever kissed in my life. It went from ear to ear. I'll never forget it.

When Shain was informed of the sailor's identity, she was apparently not overly impressed, having already had the sailor's identity revealed before as men other than Glenn McDuffie:

I spoke to her and told her I'd been positively identified. She was kind of sarcastic, but she was curious enough to tell me to keep in touch.

There was obviously no big romance between the two aside from being caught up for a few moments in the sweeping excitement of VJ Day, but they created a kiss that has been seen around the world and lasted for almost 64 years.

Edith-shain  

Until the end of her life, Edith Shain was an activist who lobbied for a national holiday to honour WWII veterans, and, according to ABC News, she is survived by two sons, six grandchildren, and eight great grandchildren.

RIP, Edith Shain. Thank you for the memories.

. . . . .
Schmutzie likes to pretend that these two were impassioned by mad love for that brief moment.







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Comments

Darla

This one brought tears to my eyes. Along with my dad and uncles and all of the WWII vets, it makes me sad with every one of the people from that generation we lose. As each one passes, our whole country loses something very special and irreplaceable.

sweetsalty kate

That photo is such magic.

Riza

She is the coolest person I've ever known... R.I.P. Edith Shain.




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