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© 2011 New-York Historical Society logo

Guide to the Gordon Burris Photographs
 PR 333

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

© 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Joseph Ditta, August 2017

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on August 29, 2017
English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Biographical Note

Gordon Guild Burris was born on 21 April 1903 at Stewiacke, Colchester County, Nova Scotia, Canada, to William Norman and Anne Kerr (Guild) Burris. He studied surveying at Dalhousie University, in Halifax, in the class of 1922–1923 (see the group photos in Folder 1, below, where he is identified by his initials, “G. B.”). He emigrated to the United States on 5 June 1923, crossing the border via the Grand Trunk Railway, and settled at Detroit. Ten days later he declared his intention to become a U.S. citizen. Burris completed the naturalization process in 1931, signing the oath of allegiance on January 12. By then he had been living for two years at a Bronx, New York, Y.M.C.A. (470 East 161st Street), and working for the Turner Construction Company as an engineer. It is unclear if his official duties included photographing the building projects to which he was assigned, or if Burris simply enjoyed taking pictures as a hobby. Whatever the reason, he captured construction methods and machinery in addition to the surrounding neighborhoods of the unfinished structures from their upper stories.

Burris served in the U.S. Army between 1942 and 1945, although a 1932 photograph of him in uniform captioned “Pvt. G.G. Burris” attests to an earlier term (see Folder 35, below). He eventually became a photographer for the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts at Richmond.

Burris died, age 85, at Morristown, Lamoille County, Vermont, on 6 June 1988. He never married.