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Guide to the Herman N. Liberman, Jr. Photograph Albums
circa 1938-1973 (bulk 1966-1973)
 PR 36

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


New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Larry Weimer

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on September 26, 2018
English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Biographical / Historical

Herman N. Liberman, Jr. (1910-1973) was born in New York City and lived in Manhattan his entire life. He joined the New York Stock Exchange in 1931 at the age of 21. At his death he still worked there as a member associated with the firm of Kingsley Boye & Southwood. Liberman's hobby was photography, most typically capturing images centered on the exteriors of individual buildings. While it is unknown when he started this hobby, by 1942 Liberman was photographing the mansions and townhouses of Manhattan's elite in anticipation of their eventual disappearance, as documented in his "Private Residences in New York City, 1942-1959," an album of photographs and clippings he compiled, which is in this collection.

Through the 1950s and into the early 1970s, Liberman took various sets of photographs, often connected to Manhattan's built environment, notably its endangered and sometimes demolished past and the construction of its present. Liberman's images from the construction of the Seaman's Bank for Savings at 30 Wall Street (1954-1955) and the World Trade Center (1969-1972) are examples, found in the 3 albums titled "New York City" in the collection. Some of his photographs also have personal connections, such as those of the Grand Street Settlement, for which he had been a trustee and former president of its Board of Directors.

In 1966, Liberman began a major photographic project. Over the next seven years, he walked Manhattan's streets in a serpentine pattern from the southern tip of the island to Marble Hill, Manhattan's northernmost point, across the Harlem River. Along the way, Liberman took 35mm color photographs of the exterior of every house of religious worship he saw, ranging from grand cathedrals to storefront missions. Completed in June 1973, just a few months before his death, Liberman compiled his photographs into four albums titled, "Houses of Worship: Manhattan," which are also in the collection.

(The above note was sourced largely from Liberman's obituary of 27 November 1973 in the New York Times, and from the collection.)