I’m the nurse in your famous shot

On August 14th of 1945, as millions celebrated the surrender of Japan and, effectively, the end of World War II, photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt snapped the above picture of an elated sailor kissing a nurse in New York’s Times Square. Within a week it had been published in LIFE magazine, and to this day remains one of the most iconic photographs ever committed to film. It would be another 34 years before the identity of the nurse was discovered; unveiled in 1979 as a result of the following letter to Eisenstaedt from the lady herself, Edith Shain.

Transcript follows.

(Source: LIFE; Image above, via Wikipedia.)


Dear Mr, Eisenstaedt:

Now that I’m 60 – it’s fun to admit that I’m the nurse in your famous shot “of the amorous sailor celebrating V.E. Day by kissing a nurse on New York’s Broadway.” The article in the Los Angles Times, which described your talents, stimulated the recall of the scene on Broadway.

I had left Doctors’ Hospital and wanted to be part of the celebration but the amorous sailor and a subsequent soldier motivated a retreat into the next opening of the subway. I wish I could have stored that jubilation and amour for use P.R.N.

​Mr Eisenstaedt, is it possible for me to obtain a print of that picture? I would be most appreciative.

I regret not having met you on your last trip to Beverly Hills.

Perhaps next time. If not – I’ll understand because “it’s not only hard to catch him – its hard to keep up with him.”

Have fun.


Edith Shain