Weegee Chronology
1899 Born Usher Fellig on June 12 in Lemberg (also know as Lvov), Austria (now Ukraine), to Rachel and Bernard Fellig. Weegee was the second of seven children. The first four, Elias (1897), Usher, Rachel, and Phillip, were born in Lemberg. The youngest three siblings, Molly, Jack, and Yetta, were born in the United States.
Photographer unknown. Weegee's parents - Rachel and Bernard Fellig, c. 1920s
1906 Bernard Fellig leaves Europe for the United States.
1910 Rest of family arrives in New York and settles on Manhattan's Lower East Side. Usher’s name is changed to Arthur upon arrival. Bernard Fellig had studied to become a rabbi in Austria. However, in America, he earned a living as a pushcart vender, a common source of income for new immigrants on the Lower East Side. He and his wife also worked as janitors in a tenement building in exchange for rent. Fellig always maintained a strong commitment to Judaism, maintaining the Sabbath even at the peril of the family’s income. Later on in his life, Bernard Fellig completed his religious studies and became a rabbi.
1913 Weegee (he will continue to be known as Arthur for the next two decades) makes the decision to leave school to help support his family. His first job was as a tintype photographer. After several months, Weegee started assisting a commercial photographer. After several years of grueling, tedious work, he quit to begin working as a street portrait photographer. Equipped with a pony, Weegee photographed Lower East Side children on weekends, making contact proofs during the week. This job was short-lived, however, because of the expense of caring for the pony.
1917 At the demise of his pony photography career, Weegee decided to move out of his family home. He was eighteen and seeking freedom from his family’s strict ways. For a time Weegee was homeless, and found shelter in missions and public parks, and Pennsylvania Railroad station. For several years, he held a variety of jobs including busboy, dishwasher, day laborer, candy mixer (including a stint as a "hole puncher" at the Life Saver factory), and biscuit maker. All the while, he regularly looked for work with a photography studio.
1918 Weegee finds a job at Ducket & Adler photography studio on Grand Street in Lower Manhattan, where he does variety of studio and darkroom tasks.
1921 Applies for and receives a job as helper in the darkrooms of The New York Times, and their photo syndicate Wide World Photos. This job was to last for two years.
c. 1924 to 1927 Joins Acme Newspictures (later absorbed by United Press International) as darkroom technician and printer. While at Acme, fills in as news photographer.
1934 Rents a one-room apartment at 5 Center Market Place, where he lives until 1947.
1935 Leaves Acme to begin a freelance career. Activities centered around Manhattan police headquarters. Photographs published by Herald Tribune, World-Telegram, Daily News, Post, Journal-American, Sun, and others. (This begins the period of Weegee’s most significant work, produced in New York between 1935 and 1947.)
Photographer unknown. Weegee and fellow press photograhers in front of Police Headquarters, c.1934

1938 Obtains permission to install police radio in car. Around this time adopts the name Weegee.
Photographer unknown. Weegee at his typewriter in the trunk of his 1938 'Chevy,' c.1943
1940 Given special position by the progressive evening newspaper PM, to create photo-stories of his choice, or accept assignments from the newspaper’s editors.
1941 "Weegee: Murder is My Business," exhibition opens at the Photo League, New York. Weegee begins to experiment with handheld 16 mm movie camera.
1943 Five photographs acquired by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and included in their exhibition, "Action Photography."
1945 Publication of Naked City (New York: Duell, Sloan & Pearce; Essential Books), the first book of Weegee’s photographs, and accompanying national publicity tour. Begins photographing for Vogue.
1946 Publication of Weegee's People (New York: Duell, Sloan & Pearce; Essential Books). Lectures at The New School for Social Research, New York. Weegee sells the rights to the title of his book, Naked City, to Mark Hellinger for a Hollywood feature film.
1947 Marries Margaret Atwood, and late in the year leaves New York for Hollywood to serve as consultant on film version of Naked City. During the next several years, worked as a technical consultant on films and played minor film roles. He also began to experiment with a variety of lenses and other devices to begin creating his "distortion" series.
1948 Release of The Naked City by Universal Pictures, and Weegee appears for the first time as an extra in the film, "Every Girl Should Be Married." His own (and first) film, Weegee's New York (20 minutes, black and white, 16mm) is completed. He is represented in the "50 Photographs by 50 Photographers" exhibition organized by Edward Steichen at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Photographer unknown. Weegee pointing at the poster for the film Naked City, 1948
1949 Weegee and Margaret Atwood are separated, and divorce a year later.
c. 1950 Produces film Cocktail Party (5 minutes, black and white, silent, 16mm).
1952 Returns to New York after several years of living and working in Hollywood. Begins a series of distorted portraits of celebrities and political figures, which he calls caricatures.
1953 Publication of Naked Hollywood by Weegee and Mel Harris (New York: Pellegrini and Cudahy), the first book in which his distortions are published.
1955 Distorted portraits are published in July issue of Vogue.
1957 Diagnosed with diabetes, Weegee moves to West 47th Street, the home of Wilma Wilcox, who remains his companion until his death.
1958 Consultant for Stanley Kubrick's film, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Bomb. Traveled extensively in Europe until 1968, working for the Daily Mirror and on a variety of photography, film, lecture, and book projects.
1959 Lecture tour in USSR in conjunction with several exhibitions held here. Publication of Weegee's Creative Camera (Garden City, New York: Hanover House).
1960 Exhibition: "Weegee: Caricatures of the Great," at Photokina, Cologne, West Germany.
1961 Publication of autobiography, Weegee by Weegee (New York: Ziff-Davis).
Photographer unknown. Portrait of Weegee (Arthur Fellig), c.1956 Inscribed on image: "To all my Subjects, Weegee."
1962 Exhibition at Photokina, Cologne, West Germany.
1964 Publication of Weegee's Creative Photography (London: Ward, Lock, and Co.).
c. 1965 Makes film The Idiot Box (5 minutes, black and white, sound 16mm).
1968 Weegee dies in New York on December 26, at the age of 69.