'Priceless' old photos found hidden in attic in Ellenwood

1:51 AM, Apr 4, 2013   |    comments
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  • Dagmar Grimes, in her Decatur home, April 3, 2013
  • The house in Ellenwood where the historical slides were found hidden in the attic.
    

DECATUR, Ga. -- A Decatur woman is trying to unravel a mystery that she discovered hidden in the attic of her home in Ellenwood, where she lived until recently.

The mystery -- a small box with a treasure inside of it; a priceless time capsule that she is sure the owner would want to have back.

Dagmar Grimes was not looking for it, she "tripped" over it, accidentally, two years after moving into the Ellenwood house.

"I was in the attic, putting up some Christmas decorations," she recalled Wednesday night, "and I found this tin box underneath some insulation, I actually kind of almost tripped over it, and that's how I was able to discover it."

And the treasure she found inside: photos -- slides, perhaps 200 or more slides -- dated from the 1960s into the 1970s.

"Someone took special care to put these in the box, so I knew they must be some special photos."

They are.

Ms. Grimes bought an old slide projector to view them, and the images lighting up her wall took her breath away.

She saw Coretta Scott King, and a young man next to her who looks like he could be the now-Congressman John Lewis.

She saw Daddy King -- Martin Luther King, Sr. -- surrounded by news photographers.

She saw photos of Atlanta from forty and fifty years ago, and photos from around the world.

She also saw what may be family photos -- complete with the photographer's finger blocking part of the lens in one of the shots, as parents the world over have done as long as there have been cameras.

What is the story that these slides tell?

"There are pictures from Vietnam on there, and this person was a well-travelled person," Grimes said. "They went out across the world, and it seems to me that they were in the military as well, because I saw a lot of pictures of helicopters and ships and different things like that."

Who was this person?

"Maybe they were a photographer for the military."  Grimes smiled, wondering about a dashing, international man of mystery photographing his way around the globe.

A photographer in his or her 20s then would be 60 or 70, or older, now.

"I would just like for the pictures to get back in the rightful owner's hands."

This is her second attempt to return the slides to whomever put them in the attic in the Ellenwood house.  Was it a former owner of the house, or someone else?

She first found the box eight years ago, but she failed to make any headway solving the mystery.

And she forgot about the slides until recently, when she and her husband moved to Decatur.

That's when she rediscovered the slides and resolved to track down the story behind them.

She is sure someone must know who the photographer is, and who left them in the attic.

"I definitely would like to know who this person is and just thank him for me, my eyes, being able to see such photos. Again, some of the pictures that this person took great lengths to take, they were right there, I mean they experienced it all, they saw it all. It's mind-boggling to me."

Someone's vision -- captured in this priceless time capsule, in timeless light and shadow.

"It's almost like watching a movie" of the photographer's life between the mid 1960s and the early-to-mid 1970s, she said. "It's just unfolding before your eyes, because there are also pictures of people on there who may be family members, they may be part of this person's life."

If anybody has an idea who the owner might be, contact us at news@11alive.com, and we'll get your information to Ms. Grimes.

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