Anniversary of the Editorial Without Words

Tuesday, May 26, 2020
Original photo editorial without words

The photo known as the "Editorial Without Words" is one of the Shriners fraternity’s most recognizable images. It was taken almost by accident, 50 years ago, on June 11, 1970, in Evansville, Indiana. This special moment, captured for all time, eloquently illustrates the relationship between the Shriners fraternity and Shriners Hospitals for Children.

Hadi Shriners in Evansville was holding its annual summer picnic. Patients were invited, and everyone enjoyed a day of food, fun and carnival rides. Toward the end of the day, Shriner Al Hortman, who became a Shriner after his daughter, Laura, was treated at Shriners Hospitals for Children, noticed a young girl who needed help. On this day, Noble Hortman lifted Bobbi Jo Wright and her crutches and carried her from ride to ride. A local newspaper photographer, Randy Dieter, captured the photo with a long lens as the two walked past him. Dieter wouldn’t realize until much later how much impact that single image would have. Neither would the Shriners, or Bobbi Jo herself.

Today, Bobbi Jo lives independently and is active in her church. She spends much time and energy traveling and speaking on behalf of Shriners Hospitals for Children, and meeting and encouraging other patients and families.

The famous photo has been reproduced on stained-glass windows, mosaics, tie tacks, pins and more. A larger-than-life replica of the "Editorial Without Words" stands outside the Shriners International Headquarters building in Tampa, Florida, and statues mark many temples and Shriners Hospitals locations. A version of the image is used as the Shriners Hospitals for Children logo.

Editorial Without Words statue at Shriners Hospitals for Children headquarters