Photo credit: 9/11 Memorial staff
Accession Number: C.2019.178.1
Dimensions: 15.25 in X 15.25 in X 0.125 in
Dimensions (Metric): 38.735 cm X 38.735 cm X 0.3175 cm
Credit Line: Gift of Carl Selinger
White fabric handkerchief, completely soiled by smoke and soot.
During the February 26, 1993, bombing of the World Trade Center, as smoke grew increasingly dense inside the towers, people shielded their faces with whatever items they had. Alone and in darkness, Carl Selinger, a manager in the Port Authority’s aviation department, was trapped inside a North Tower elevator stalled around the 50th floor and slowly filling with smoke. Fearing that he might die, Selinger wrote a letter to his family. He used the back of a piece of loose-leaf paper he happened to have with him. Rescuers freed Selinger around 5:30 p.m., five hours after the blast.