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Guide to the Charles Gilbert Hine Photograph Collection
 PR 82

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

© 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Processed by Jennifer Lewis

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on December 13, 2011
Description is in English.

Biographical Note

Charles Gilbert Hine was an accomplished insurance publisher, editor, local historian and amateur photographer. Born in 1859 in New Albany, Indiana, he moved with his family to the New York area in 1868 where Hine's father, Charles Cole Hine, became owner and editor of the Insurance Monitor. Hine spent most of his youth living in Woodside, New Jersey, a rural suburb of Newark. The family had a love of sailing and spent summers at their house on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.

Hine and his brothers, Thomas and Edward Hine, learned photography from their father at an early age; their house on Martha's Vineyard had been specifically designed to include a darkroom. Charles and Thomas Hine used their skills to write and privately publish their first book in 1883, Chronicles of Our White Mountain Trip, July 1883, which was heavily illustrated with the brothers' photographs. In 1888 the Hine brothers and their father became founding members of the Newark Camera Club. Charles and Thomas Hine exhibited 157 photographs in the club's First Annual Exhibit in 1891.

Charles Hine and his two brothers joined their father in the family business, the Hine Insurance Publishing Company. After Charles Cole Hine's death in 1897, the brothers incorporated the company. Charles Gilbert Hine succeeded his father as head of the company, editor of the Insurance Monitor, and head of the Underwriters & Credit Bureau, Inc.

Hine pursued his interest in local history throughout the rest of his life. He traveled primarily by foot and bicycle, taking photographs and collecting historical anecdotes. He focused his work on New York and New Jersey, especially along the Hudson River and on Staten Island where he lived for six years. Hine continued to travel to and document the history of Martha's Vineyard where he had spent his childhood summers. He published much of his historical work and accompanying photography in a limited edition series under the title Hine's Annuals between 1905 and 1915. He published historical books and pamphlets separately as well; his dated works span the years from 1883 to 1928. Like other Pictorialist photographers of his era, Charles Gilbert Hine favored the platinum print, known for its delicate gradation of grays and its varied tonal scale. The majority of his published histories included his platinum prints. His accompanying writings are opinionated and express a deep appreciation for the natural landscape and historical architecture portrayed in his photographs. Hine made particular efforts to photograph buildings that were threatened with demolition. He took a special interest in historic thoroughfares; among his published writings were histories of Broadway, the Albany Post Road, Old King's Highway, and the Serpentine Road on Staten Island.

Hine moved to Staten Island with his brother Thomas in 1909. There he served as a member of both the Staten Island Antiquarian Society and the Staten Island Historical Society. In 1915 Hine married his first cousin Sarah Tilden. They immediately moved from Staten Island to East Orange, New Jersey, where he resided until his death in 1931.