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Guide to Holland Tunnel Construction Photographs and Reports
1917-1949 (bulk, 1919-1926)
 PR 332

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 July 31, 2017 using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Scope and Contents note

The collection includes about 200 photographs and 20 reports and other print matter related to the construction of the Holland Tunnel. There is also a CD provided by the donor of digital images of the photographs and duplicate copies of some of the reports.

The photographs include a combination of interior and exterior views. Exterior views are generally from construction sites at the west end of Canal Street in Manhattan and at the Jersey City tunnel approaches. Some of the exteriors include the river shaft caissons in dry dock and at their launch and positioning in the Hudson River. Interiors include the north and south tunnels, shafts, shields, working chambers, and various structural details. Most of the photographs are captioned and dated, and these are summarized in the folder level notes below in the container list. Some of the photographs include images of the “sandhogs” (i.e., workers doing the mining) and other laborers, some of whom appear to be African-American.

The bulk of the photographs portray the construction and site, and date from 1920 to 1926. There are also several photographs of other aspects of the project, including celebratory events and people other than laborers. These include portraits of Chief Engineer Clifford Holland, New Jersey Interstate Bridge & Tunnel Commission Secretary E.M. Barradale, and others. These events and people are not always identified. These photographs, where dated, range from 1919 to 1946.

Much of the print matter includes the annual reports of the New Jersey Interstate Bridge & Tunnel Commission to the Senate & General Assembly of New Jersey for the years 1920-1927. Two of these reports (1920 and 1923) are in their original typed manuscript form; the others are in their published form. There are only two reports from the New York State Commission; those are for 1920 and 1921. Among other print matter is the 1917 Report to the Executive Committee of Public Service Corporation of New Jersey on the Proposed Vehicular Tunnel Between the Cities of Jersey City and New York; printed booklets concerning four of the project’s contracts (detailed below in the container list); and a 1922 memorandum from Clifford Holland on the arrangement of the tunnel plaza in Jersey City.

Arrangement Note

The collection is organized first by format, opening with photographs and followed by print matter.

Most of the photographs are numbered and they are arranged in numerical order, which generally follows how they were presented by the donor. Photographs with no number follow those numbered. Although the numbers range from 0144 to 16259, there are many large gaps in the range. It is not known if these numbers ever formed a single sequence.

The print matter is generally arranged by title.