Nurse in Iconic Times Square Kiss Photo Dies at 91

0 Posted by - June 23, 2010 - News/Blog

kiss_alfred_eisenstaedt_sfw1.jpg Edith Shain, the woman depicted in an iconic photograph kissing a sailor in Times Square at the end of World War II, has died. She was 91.

The famed photo, snapped by Life photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt, shows a young woman in a nurse’s uniform at the mercy of a particularly excited young sailor. The pair’s lips are locked in a vehement kiss — a scene that would become one of the most iconic images of the war.

As Eisenstaedt describes it in his autobiography: “I was walking through the crowds on V-J Day, looking for pictures. I noticed a sailor coming my way. He was grabbing every female he could find and kissing them all — young girls and old ladies alike. Then I noticed the nurse, standing in that enormous crowd. I focused on her, and just as I’d hoped, the sailor came along, grabbed the nurse, and bent down to kiss her.”

For decades the woman’s identity was unknown, until finally in the ’70s Shain contacted Life magazine. She went on to reveal that she had been working at Doctor’s Hospital in New york when on August 14, 1945 she decided to take the subway to join a V-J Day (Victory over Japan) celebration in Times Square.

“This guy grabbed me and we kissed,” Shain said in 2008 of the sheer spontaneity of the kiss. “And then I turned one way and he turned the other. There was no way to know who he was, but I didn’t mind because he was someone who had fought for me.”

“As for the picture,” she said, “it says so many things — hope, love, peace and tomorrow. The end of the war was a wonderful experience, and that photo represents all those feelings.”

Over the years Shain would lead numerous memorial parades honoring World War 2 veterans, and she spent much of her later years educating others about the sacrifices made during the war.

As for the sailor in the photograph, his identity is still unconfirmed. Note we are now running a contest about this photo.

8 Comments

  • Craig January 25, 2014 - 8:56 pm Reply

    Along the coast of Italy, there is a very large metal statute (maybe 25 to 30 feet high) of the sailor and nurse kissing. It looks just like the photo. We noticed a lot of tourists standing under it and kissing.

  • [...] You probably recognize this photo. It was taken by photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt right after Japan surrendered in World War 2. Alfred recalls: [...]

  • Marc Silber July 20, 2010 - 9:15 am Reply

    OK folks, I got very interested in this photo what makes it so powerful? and thought it would be fun to run a contest for a SanDisk card to reenact this photo check it out http://www.silberstudios.tv/blog/2010/07/a-contest-what-makes-alfred-eisenstaedts-kiss-such-a-strong-photograph

  • Marc Silber July 20, 2010 - 9:15 am Reply

    OK folks, I got very interested in this photo what makes it so powerful? and thought it would be fun to run a contest for a SanDisk card to reenact this photo check it out http://www.silberstudios.tv/blog/2010/07/a-contest-what-makes-alfred-eisenstaedts-kiss-such-a-strong-photograph

  • Life « Runawayalice June 28, 2010 - 8:00 am Reply

    [...] that they didn’t know each other.  But that was about it, until today when I ran across this article.  On June 23, 2010 Edith Shain (the Nurse) died at age 91.  Apparently she didn’t contact [...]

  • Life « Runawayalice June 28, 2010 - 8:00 am Reply

    [...] that they didn’t know each other.  But that was about it, until today when I ran across this article.  On June 23, 2010 Edith Shain (the Nurse) died at age 91.  Apparently she didn’t contact [...]

  • Joe June 27, 2010 - 2:39 pm Reply

    One of my favorite photos from one of my favorite photographers. I like Edith Shain’s quote, ” it says so many things-hope, love, peace and tomorrow”

  • Joe June 27, 2010 - 2:39 pm Reply

    One of my favorite photos from one of my favorite photographers. I like Edith Shain’s quote, ” it says so many things-hope, love, peace and tomorrow”

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