Picture found in long lost book leads to nationwide search for family


NEW YORK CITY – Books are full of stories. Sometimes one jumps from the page. 

From between the pages of a book is where Victoria Johnson found a family photo that caught her eye.

This story begins 15 years ago, when she was browsing and buying books at The Strand in Manhattan. Once she got home with her new title, one she no longer remembers, the photo fell out from between its pages.

Johnson is a professor at Hunter College and an award-winning author who said she was captivated by the family and the image. 

Now, 15 years later, social media made sleuthing for the details and planning a reunion much easier.

Last week, she posted the picture to Twitter in hopes of finally returning it, and more than 10 thousand retweets, likes and comments later, she got her wish.

“Suddenly I got a tweet — ‘that’s my Great Uncle Sheldon,'” she said.

And after a few phone calls, the story made its way to Valerie Sudduth, the youngest person in the picture.

The picture takes her back to 1964: her and her sister’s father had passed away. Their mom met Sheldon Sudduth in church. The family forwarded the picture to relatives, some of whom lived in New York City. 

And while it took social media to unite Johnson and Sudduth, that young girl in the photo will soon be reunited with a piece of her past: Johnson is going to mail Sudduth the picture.

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