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Guide to the Harris Pierce Photographs
 PR 270

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

New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Lucas Buresch and Kelly McAnnaney

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on May 14, 2019
Description is in English. using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Scope and Content Note

The Harris Pierce photographs span the period from 1888-1900 and primarily include 300 gelatin silver photographs of residences and businesses during the grading and improvements of streets in the Bronx. The photographs include views of the construction of sewers, construction sites, street improvements and grading, residences, vegetable gardens, children, churches, and businesses such as grocery stores, brewers and liquor stores, bakers, barbers, plumbers, and real estate offices. The photographs also include views of the New York Central Harlem Line and train stations such as the Tremont Station, social clubs such as the Suburban Club, the Artistic Bronze Co., the American Pie Baking Co., and stables and feed stores.

Most of the photographs are marked on the verso with either the street address or the block and lot numbers. The majority of the photographs were made along Webster Avenue, Vanderbilt (now Park) Avenue, Brooke Avenue, and Washington Avenue from 144th Street in the south to 178th Street in the north. Many of the photographs were made along Vanderbilt Avenue, which from E 161 St to 167 St was the 19th century name for the present Park Avenue. Below 161 Street the avenue was referred to as Railroad Avenue, or RR Avenue. The photographs marked with either street addresses or intersections in brackets were given based on the block and lot numbers. These addresses were derived by consulting the 1897 Atlas of the City of New York: 23rd & 24th Wards from Actual Surveys and Official Plans by George W. and Walter S. Bromley.

The block numbers given on the photographs are numbers from prior to the annexation of 1895, including those photographs that are dated after that year. In 1874 the city of New York annexed the area of the Bronx south of Yonkers and west of the Bronx River from Westchester County. This area was given block and lot numbers that were used until the 1895 annexation of the Bronx east of the Bronx River. After 1895 the numbering system for blocks was changed. The new (post-1895) block numbers can be found on maps after 1895 with the 'old' numbers marked in parentheses. It appears that the photographer was using the term 'ward number' for what was actually the lot number. All the photographs were made in the twenty-third and twenty-fourth wards (the Bronx).

Photographs that could not be identified based on the geographic location of the subject were placed into the "Unidentified" folders and further divided by type of building: commercial, empty lots, and residences. These photographs include many of the same subjects as the identified photographs, but lack both block and lot numbers and street addresses.

The only photograph in the collection that is known not to have been made by Harris Pierce is the view of 1940 Park Avenue taken by Louis C. Bennett.


Arranged by street name, then unidentified photographs by building type.