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© 2011 New-York Historical Society logo

Guide to the Bob Adelman Photographs
 PR 340

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

© 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Larry Weimer

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on October 16, 2017 using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Scope and Contents Note

The collection includes about 540 black and white photographs taken by Bob Adelman. Most of the photographs depict 1970s urban street life in New York City, especially Harlem, the Bowery and 14th Street in Manhattan and Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn. There are many photographs that focus on particular themes within the urban setting, including the fallout from a New York City black-out, the proximity of black and white residents in Newark, NJ, and storefront destruction in Newark, NJ, resulting from the 1967 riots. African-Americans figure prominently in these photographs, though not exclusively.

About 50 of the photographs concern civil rights activism of the early 1960s. These photos range from nationally-recognized figures, especially Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr., to anonymous activists, and from events of national import, such as the 1963 March on Washington and protests in Selma and Birmingham, Alabama, to protests against discrimination in Brooklyn.

Some of the photographs focus on particular individuals or personalities, including the television personality David Frost (1939-2013), the writer Michael Harrington (1928-1989), Brooklyn "Super Cops" Dave Greenberg and Bob Hantz, and various born again Christians.

Most of the photographs are undated and this is reflected in the container list. Many of the photographs have a copyright stamp with a date of 1978 or 1979, and this is included in the container list when it appears, but in some cases the photograph may have been taken earlier.

The number of photographs in a particular folder is noted in the container list in (parentheses).

Arrangement Note

The collection is arranged by subject, with related photographs kept together as presented by the donor. The subject title was generally derived from the captions on some of the photographs. The photographs are also boxed by size: Boxes 1 and 2 hold 8 x 11 (some smaller), Box 3 holds 14 x 11; Box 4 holds 20 x 16.