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Guide to the George P. Hall & Son Photograph Collection
 PR 24

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
(212) 873-3400

New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Processed by Jennifer Lewis

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on September 03, 2019
Description is in English.

Historical Note

The commercial photography firm George P. Hall & Son operated in Manhattan from 1886 through 1914. Working out of several studios, the firm documented the changing face of New York City at the turn of the 20th century. Hall & Son's photographs were available for general sale, were published in their own calendars and souvenir viewbooks, and appeared as illustrations in such publications as King's Views of New York,  Staley's Views of New York, and  Harper's Weekly.

George P. Hall (1832-1900) was born in 1832 in Troy, Ohio, and began his career in 1854 as a daguerreotypist in Dayton, Ohio. A year later he opened his first gallery in Indianapolis and then worked in St. Louis, before finally making his way to New York around 1872. He started his commercial photography business at 78 Fulton Street around 1875, and was officially joined by his son James S. Hall in 1886 when firm took the name George P. Hall & Son. The father and son operated the company until 1900, when George P. Hall died. James S. Hall continued to run the business until about 1914. A brief note in the Business Troubles column of the New York Times for June 4, 1914 indicates that creditors were filing a petition against Hall, and that he admitted his insolvency. It is presumed that the firm closed in the wake of these financial difficulties.

The Halls operated several studios in Manhattan. City directories published by Trow indicate that George P. Hall maintained a studio at 78 Fulton Street from 1876 to 1883. He moved his business to 157 Fulton Street in 1883, where he was joined by his son; that studio remained open until 1901. Later shops included those at 303 Broadway from 1890 to 1894, at 52 Water Street from 1897 to 1902, at 212 Broadway from 1901 to 1914, at 364 Bowery from 1902 to 1903, and at 230 Grand Street from 1903 to 1904. The Halls made their residences in Brooklyn, and often turned their cameras toward features of that city as well as Manhattan. They also worked as marine and engineering photographers.