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Guide to the Frank M. Ingalls Photograph Collection
ca. 1901-1930
 PR 28

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


New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Marybeth Kavanagh and Jenny Gotwals

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on August 27, 2019
Description is in English. using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Biographical Note

Frank Munroe Ingalls, a self-taught photographer active in New York City from 1901-1935, was born in Nashua, New Hampshire, on June 12, 1862, to Lyman Ingalls and Mary Ellen Fairbanks Ingalls. He worked in Nashua as a clerk and then a printer at George Bagley & Co., a stationery store and printing shop. He married Bertha Frazier in 1882, and their daughter Clara (known as Claire) was born in 1883. During the mid-1890s, Ingalls worked as a draftsman in the Engineer's Office of the City of Nashua; about this time, he became interested in photography. In 1899, he took over ownership of the former Powers photography studio at 63 Main Street in Nashua.

Ingalls moved his family to New York City in 1901, and set about documenting the cultural landscape of his new home almost immediately. In a series of illustrated articles published between 1906 and 1911 in the American Annual of Photography, Ingalls wrote, "…the skyline of lower Manhattan is a very interesting subject, as it is constantly changing from year to year." He also noted that he always carried a small camera with him, even when it rained, to be sure he never missed an unexpected opportunity. A member of the Camera Club of the 23rd St. YMCA, he published designs for a camera club's rooms based on his own club experience; his articles offered advice on the best equipment and sites for photographing New York City. The 1920 census shows that Ingalls lived in Queens with his daughter; it lists his occupation as "lantern slide creator."

In 1935, Ingalls returned to Nashua and set up a photography studio in his home on Concord Street. He became active at the Nashua Historical Society, preserving old photographs and maps of Nashua. He continued to document Nashua through his photography. Ingalls moved to Fitchburg, Massachusetts, in late 1942, and the next year donated his collection of approximately 850 images of New York City to the New-York Historical Society. Some time after, Ingalls moved to Florida, where he lived with his daughter. He died in Clermont, Florida, in February 1956; he is buried at the Woodlawn Cemetery in Nashua, NH.