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Guide to the Photograph collection on Robert Moses V1991.057

128 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn, NY, 11201

Brooklyn Historical Society

Collection processed by Patricia Glowinski

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on November 28, 2011
English. using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Descriptive Summary

Title: Photograph collection on Robert Moses
Dates: Circa 1950 to 1968
Quantity: 0.06 Linear feet nine items housed in one folder.
Graphic materials [Box]: Prints by Accession 75
Call Phrase: V1991.057
Sponsor: This collection was processed and described as part of the project, "Uncovering the Secrets of Brooklyn's 19th Century Past: Creation to Consolidation," funded by the Council on Library and Information Resources, with additional support from The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.

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Biographical note

Robert Moses (1888-1981) was a public official who served in the New York City area for over 40 years. Moses was born in New Haven, CT on December 18, 1888. He graduated from Yale College (now Yale University) in 1909, received a jurisprudence degree from Wadham College, University of Oxford in 1911, and finally earned a PhD in political science from Columbia University in 1914.Though never elected to a public position, Moses was appointed to numerous public positions during his long career including as President of the New York State Parks Council and as Chairman of the Long Island State Park Commission by New York Governor Alfred E. Smith in 1924; and as the first Commissioner of the Department of Parks' newly consolidated five-borough parks system in 1934 by New York City Mayor Fiorello La Guardia. In 1941, La Guardia also appointed Moses to New York City's planning commission. Between 1924 to 1968, Moses held 12 different City and State positions, often concurrently.

Though not trained as an architect or a planner, the built environment in New York City was dramatically influenced and altered by Moses, much of which is still visible today. From highways to hospitals, to large-scale public housing, parks, and bridges, much of today's New York City infrastructure was built under Moses. While Moses served for 26 years as New York City's parks commissioner, park acreage within the City's five-borough park system more than doubled, reaching 34, 673 acres by 1960. Conversely, he was also responsible for leading the construction of major roadways and superhighways in the New York City metropolitan area, many of which cut through entire sections of neighborhoods, often displacing longtime residents. Moses retired from his last position at the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority when the agency was abolished by Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller in 1968. He died in 1981 in West Islip, N.Y. at the age of 92.


  1. Schwartz, Joel. "Robert Moses." In The Encyclopedia of New York City, edited by Kenneth T. Jackson, 774-775. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press; New York: New-York Historical Society, 1995.
  2. New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. "Robert Moses Playground." Accessed October 27, 2011.

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Scope and Contents

The Photograph collection on Robert Moses contains nine black-and-white photographic prints pertaining to Robert Moses during the 1950s and 1960s. The collection consists primarily of portraits or group portraits showing Moses, often while attending publicity events in New York City. Also included is an ariel view of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, and an exterior view of Robert Moses High School.

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Moses, Robert, 1888-1981

Document Type

  • Black-and-white prints (photographs)
  • Group portraits
  • Photographs
  • Portraits

Subject Organizations

  • Robert Moses High School.

Subject Topics

  • City planning -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Public administration -- New York (State)
  • Public officers -- New York (State) -- New York

Subject Places

  • New York (N.Y.)
  • New York (State)
  • Verrazano-Narrows Bridge (New York, N.Y.)

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Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers without restriction.

Conditions Governing Use

Reproduction rights for the photographs have not been evaluated. For information on securing rights to publish or reproduce, please see the Brooklyn Historical Society Reproduction Rights Policy.

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date (if known); Photograph collection on Robert Moses, V1991.057, Box number, Object ID number; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Other Finding Aids

Item level description and digital versions of images from the collection are available for searching via the image database in the library. Please consult library staff for more information.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Source and date of acquisition for this collection are unknown. The collection was formally accessioned in 1991.

Processing Information note

Fully processed to the item level.

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