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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

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of 8 albums compiled by Herman N. Liberman, Jr., centering on three titles: "Houses of Worship: Manhattan," "Private Residences in New York City," and "New York City." The albums predominantly include photographs taken by Liberman, but also include some other documents including Liberman's captions and newspaper clippings and other related material.

There are approximately 3,000 photographs across all the albums. The four albums titled "Houses of Worship" holds about 950 of these, showing the exteriors of about 889 (by Liberman's count) Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, and Muslim houses of worship, which are identified by name and address. These are generally all 3" x 5" color photographs, taken methodically by Liberman across all Manhattan from 1966 to 1973. Liberman appears to have photographed any building identifying itself as a house of worship and consequently the range of structures is wide and includes storefront missions. The collection also holds the related 2,500 35mm color negatives; there are many more negatives than prints. There are also three portraits of Liberman at the end of these albums.

The "Private Residences" album mixes photographs of uptown mansions and townhouses Liberman took in the 1940s with later photographs into the early 1970s, newspaper clippings, and captions with some commentary to form a rough narrative around the losses and successes of historic preservation of the wealthy elite's former residences in Manhattan. The photographs are generally 3" x 5" or smaller; earlier photos are black & white and later ones are in color.

The three albums titled "New York City" consist of a variety of images, mostly of views of the exteriors of commercial and public buildings, in particular those in the Wall Street area, 1950s-1970s. Most of these images are grouped into small thematic sets, such as those of the World Trade Center construction and the renovation of the front steps and plaza of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1969). The container list provides further detail on the specific content. These photographs are also generally 3" x 5" or smaller with a mix of color and black and white.

Arrangement

The photographs in the "Houses of Worship" albums were originally mounted, 6-8 to a page with individual captions, in four albums in the geographic and chronological sequence that Liberman took them. In August 2018, because the original mounts were deteriorating such that the photographs and captions were becoming disassociated, all content was transferred to archival enclosures. These enclosures are arranged in the same order as the original albums, noting the album volume and page they were taken from. The covers of the original binders were retained in the collection and are boxed separately from the photographs. The corresponding negatives are also boxed separately, with the images for each house of worship held in its own small envelope, captioned and in the proper geographic and chronological sequence.

The photographs in the other albums remain in their original state, grouped by subject or date.