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About the Photos

Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • ABOUT PARIS, 1895

Manhattan Terminal: 1907

Manhattan Terminal: 1907

The Brooklyn Bridge Promenade and Manhattan Terminal in 1907 amid a forest of billboards facing the trains. The domed structure is the New York World building. Detroit Publishing Company glass negative. View full size.

 

Two Courthouses

The pointed dome to the right of the terminal is the New York County Supreme Court (60 Centre Street). That's the building with the broad steps often seen in movies and TV. The building with the columns between the German Herald and the Technical Press is the New York County Surrogate's Court (on Chambers Street). It doesn't have nice steps but it has a marvelous interior. In movies the Supreme Court steps are often used for exterior shots for scenes shot inside the Surrogate's Court.

The Supreme Court was built over the filled-in Collect Pond which was the Native American and colonial fresh water source until polluted by a tannery. The building has full time pumps going to move the spring water that would reclaim the pond if left unchecked.

Always New York!

I like it!

McLees Cerotypes

Thank you to tterrace for bringing attention to the Frank McLees sign on that distant building. Frank was my grandmother's brother, and son of Archibald McLees, a famous engraver of the 19th century. Frank grew up in Rutherford, thus the Passiac river connection. Frank took up his father's trade and was a quite good engraver himself, although I suspect his time witnessed the transition to more modern techniques. Some of his father's work can be seen in my picture gallery.

The World Building

Joseph Pulitzer had an office beneath its golden dome. Not that Joe ever used it much. Last I heard he worked ensconced in his yacht out in the harbor to avoid stressing his delicate hearing. I wonder if that story's true.

Fred K. Pearce

The tall building to the right of the terminal has the tenants' names painted between the floors. I found an old invoice for Fred K. Pearce Co., which seemed to be into electrical equipment and supplies. Here's an address for the invoice image, itself a real artifact from another age:

By the way, the website this image is attached to is, in itself, an internet blast from the past!

Modern Marvel

The pen is mightier than the sword. Waterman's capillary fountain pen design, patented 1884, is still on sale today. You have to look hard for a sword. While his name loomed large over New York City, Waterman himself died in 1901.

Simpler times

I find this photo really interesting - nobody seems to be in a hurry and there's not a cell phone or blackberry to be seen!

Old sayings

Man, that's more billboards than Carter has pills.

Billboard History Lessons

1. Based on the titles and venues seen in the theatrical signs, this shot seems to date from October or November 1907. 2. Francis Wilson, star of "When Knights Were Bold," was the first president of Actor's Equity (1913), and has an interesting connection with Eugene Field, author of "Wynken, Blynken and Nod." 3. Cerotypes were wax-engraved printing plates. Eleven years earlier, Frank McLees of the firm, while paddling a canoe on the Passaic River, accompanied by "a lady," rescued an 11-year-old boy from drowning (NYT 6/29/96).

German Herold

That statue-with-trumpet on the building to the right... Amazing! It must've been *huge*.

Silver Girl

What strikes me about this magnificent photograph isn't its quaint antiquity but its modernity. It almost seems to be a futuristic vision, or glimpse of another planet. Everything in view, with the exception of the sky itself, is man-made. Gigantic words and phrases loom above everything; plumes of steam or smoke rise into the air, produced by infernal machines. H.G. Wells or Jules Verne come to mind.

Carter's Little Liver Pills

The billboard for Carter's Pills brings to mind the company's later radio ads for: "Carter's Little Liver Pills - A mild diuretic for the kidneys"

I love old signs ...

... and those billboards are beautiful images! Thanks!

Busy Scene

I can't take it all in at once, this is the kind of picture that has to be studied. It's got to be one of the busiest city shots I've ever seen. Congratulations again to Shorpy. I hadn't thought of the Drake Schools for years, in the late 1940s I used to take college preparatory courses there.

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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