Yes, the New York Public Library swears, the old photo of the guy who looks scarily like Jay-Z really is an unretouched, un-Photoshopped image from 1939. “We’re 100 percent certain it’s legitimate,” Adenike Olanrewaju, a library spokeswoman, said on Friday.
The photo, the library explains on its Tumblr blog, is “Harlem Loiterers” by the street photographer Sid Grossman (no further details are known about it, unfortunately), and it was stumbled across recently by a curator at the library’s Schomburg Center for Research In Black Culture.
This is not unprecedented at the library. In 2011, someone noticed a prisoner in an 1857 photo from the library’s collection who looked kind of like a cross between Brad Pitt and Mark Wahlberg (or so some say).
This kind of thing is bound to happen from time to time with a digital collection of thousands of old photographs and a human brain wired to recognize faces and see similarities.
Perhaps if you browse through the collection you’ll find more? If you do, let us know.