Two Chicago women hope to solve mystery of Regina photographs from 1940s

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WATCH ABOVE: It's a mystery two women hope you can help solve after old photographs from Regina were discovered in a Chicago thrift store and now they're on a mission for answers. Katelyn Wilson has the story – Jan 26, 2018

It’s often said that a picture is worth a thousand words, but two women have made it their mission to discover the story behind some black and white photos found in a Chicago Goodwill store.

“We tend to spend a lot of time in thrift stores, looking at old books,” Chicago resident Kimberly Dosamantes said. “I feel like every time we would find a new book, there would be a really cool bookmark in there and we ended up finding some really cool stuff.”

Dosamantes and her friend Maria Ochoa post photos of forgotten bookmarks and other things left behind in old books to their Instagram page “Saved the Spot.”

Last Sunday they made their most exciting discovery yet. Tucked in the back of an old hardcover book were nearly a dozen old family photos.

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Stamped on the back of one photograph, the year 1940 and the location: Regina, Saskatchewan. But how they ended up in a Chicago Goodwill store is a mystery.

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“This is someone’s life that was somehow put in a book and shipped to Chicago,” Dosamantes said. “If we can try and find even someone that they’re related to, I mean that would be really cool.”

On a mission to find answers, the women turned to social media.

“People have been posting suggestions I never would have come up with,” Dosamantes said.

This caught the attention of Dana Turgeon, the City of Regina’s archivist.

“We’re kind of dependent on what people bring us for photographs, so some areas of the city are really well documented and other areas I’ll have one side of the street but not the other,” Turgeon said. “So this was very exciting.”

The photographs themselves provide clues — one in particular has the storefront Jolly Drugs in the background.

“There’s still a version of Jolly in operation in the city today so this was exciting, it let me know that it was Regina,” Turgeon explained. “Jolly Drugs is actually one of the older businesses in Regina, so it’s been in operation a long time continuously under the same name so that’s kind of neat to see that.”

Turgeon has a theory that some of the photos depict a woman on the day after her wedding.

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“There are the two photos of the wedding and then there looks like one probably from the next morning when they were travelling, because she has her nice travelling suit on,” Turgeon said. “In this case you could really see that it was 40’s clothing. The wedding dress and the travelling suit she has on in the one photograph is a very classic 40’s look.”

But some photographs remain a mystery. One in particular shows a man standing in front of a storefront that says ‘Cafe Cadillac,’ but the woman haven’t had any luck getting answers as to where that business could have been.

Both Dosamantes and Ochoa hope by sharing the photos on social media, it will lead them to their rightful owners.