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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

Scope and Content Note

The Frank M. Ingalls Photograph Collection spans the period from ca. 1901-1930 and is comprised of 802 images of New York City and its immediate environs. The collection is divided into series based on format: Prints and Negatives. Modern prints made from vintage negatives are filed at the end of the collection.

The photographs document an era in which the cityscape was rapidly being transformed by an upswing in the cycle of demolition and construction that has characterized so much of the history of New York City. The changing skyline of Manhattan, including panoramic views of the city and skyscrapers under construction, are common subjects. The construction of the Singer Building and the Metropolitan Life Building are particularly well documented. Other well-represented structures include bridges, statues, and monuments. Also present in great numbers are images of different types of ships and boats in the waters around Manhattan, such as steamships, yachts, tugboats, ferryboats, and excursion boats.

Various facets of Manhattan life are depicted in Ingalls' street scenes: a push cart market; snow removers; horse carts; newsboys; a pretzel vendor; a stilt-walker advertising various establishments; parades; flag-draped buildings; automobiles; and fireworks displays. In particular, Ingalls seemed to be interested in the juxtaposition of horse-drawn vehicles with mechanical vehicles. Many sets of views are the same basic view, one showing a horse-drawn bus, for example, and the next with an automotive bus. Scenes of Central Park and Coney Island are also prominent. The collection holds a few portraits, including two self-portraits of the photographer. A few night views show lights at Coney Island, and also the new Times Building in Times Square.

Within each series, images are arranged numerically according to Ingalls' own numbering system. Each image is captioned and some are dated; however, the majority of images are undated. Approximate dates have been assigned where possible by using activities documented in the image. A complete listing of image numbers, dates, and captions, which were transcribed from Ingalls' original negative enclosures, appears after the box listing. When there are multiple images of a given subject taken at the same time, they are denoted by consecutive letters following a number. The unnumbered images all seem to date from Ingalls' 1945 donation of material. They include views of boats and ships, the interior of the B. Altman Department Store at 34th Street and Fifth Avenue, and a set of views of Queens towns.

A negative exists for most of the 802 images; there is also an existing original print for the majority of the negatives. The collection includes: 250 glass plate negatives in 5 x 7-inch or smaller format; 517 film negatives, ranging in size from 2 x 3 inches to 3 x 7 inches (including 181 stereograph negatives); and 570 prints, ranging in size from 2 x 3 inches to 5 x 7 inches. There are 228 negatives that do not have original prints; these are indicated in the image list with an asterisk next to their numbers. 229 prints do not have corresponding negatives.

Series I. Prints consists of 570 prints, arranged numerically by Ingalls' image numbers. A list of numbers and titles follows the box listing. Unnumbered prints, mainly unidentified views of Queens, are filed after the numbered photographs.

Series II. Negatives consists of 767 negatives, both film and glass. They are arranged in two subseries by medium, then filed numerically by Ingalls' image numbers. The majority of the film negatives are cellulose nitrate, and have been physically removed from the rest of the collection. If you need to consult these negatives, please contact a staff member for assistance.


The collection is divided into series based on format: Prints and Negatives.