Photography News // $30,000 Photo in My Family’s Storage Unit

by William Van Beckum

I grew up in a sleepy New England colonial town turned commuter-suburb. The town’s rich history as one of the first settled towns of the “new world” and later, a major stop on the Underground Railroad, makes it a verdant setting for historic homes and appreciators of historic rarities. George Washington once referred to my birthplace as “the village of pretty houses.”

During my last visit home, I helped my father and stepmother move into their new house. Their storage unit contained an eclectic mix of antique furniture, oil paintings, and other various heirlooms like my stepsister’s antique equestrian saddle. While sorting through a box my dad turned up an old black & white photograph (shown above) in a broken frame. A brief consultation with my stepmom doomed it for the dumpster, but upon reflection my dad decided to pass it to me.


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