Decades-lost bridal photos discovered at auction, returned to 85-year-old bride

A pair of bridal photos, lost for more than 30 years, were returned to its rightful owner after another woman spotted them an an auction. (Credit: Sandra Poindexter)

A pair of bridal photos that had been lost for more than three decades have been returned to its rightful owner thanks to a Virginia woman who spotted them at an auction. 

Sandra Poindexter of Lynchburg said she attended an auction earlier this month to buy vintage picture frames. However, two of the frames contained pictures of what seemed to be a bride-to-be. 

She flipped the pictures over and the name "Harriet Galbraith" was written on a piece of masking tape.  

"I thought, well, maybe a family member would like to have these," Poindexter told FOX Television Stations. "I certainly would like to have them if it was of my family member, and they were just so beautiful."

Poindexter posted the information on a Facebook community group page. Another member of the group spotted the post and tracked down Galbraith, who's 85 and living in San Antonio, Texas. 

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"I was very, very excited because it's wonderful, and I missed them," Galbraith also told FOX Television Stations. "I had wanted to have them for my granddaughters."

Galbraith said the photos were of her in a Christian Dior gown after she got engaged to her late husband. She sent the photos to her mother in 1959 after her wedding.

Galbraith's sister lived with their mother, who later died. When the sister got married and moved in with her husband, the photos were lost in the shuffle. 

"I asked her, ‘Could I have the pictures back?’ And she said she had no idea where they were," Galbraith continued. 

Years later, the family held an estate sale and cleared out their mother's home, possibly explaining how the photos became long-lost. 

Galbraith said the photos were taken by well-known Washington, D.C.-based photographer, Bradford Bachrach, who also took pictures of U.S. presidents and other heads of state. 

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Her husband, William Galbraith Jr., worked in the foreign service and operated as an undercover CIA agent. 

The couple was married for 56 years before he died in 2016. 

Galbraith is expected to receive the photos this week via UPS. 

Poindexter said she hopes the story highlights an important message about humanity. 

"It doesn't take a lot sometimes…a simple act of kindness. It might just bring so much joy to somebody," she explained. "Little things that you don't think matter, might be very important to somebody else."

This story was reported from Los Angeles.