Collection Data

The Housing collection depicts residential buildings, urban renewal projects and housing conditions, mostly in Harlem, New York, from the 1940s to the 1950s. The collection consists of views of large-scale housing projects; reproductions of architectural renderings; group portraits and candid views of construction workers, tenants and political officials; views of groundbreaking ceremonies and dedications; interior and exterior views of damaged and rehabilitated residential spaces; views of apartment buildings and individual dwellings; and some views of planned communities and depressed neighborhoods. Depictions of housing and related images before 1940 and after 1959 are limited; views of pre-1940s housing may be found in "Street Scenes." The Harlem urban renewal projects series consists mainly of exterior views of various Harlem residential projects under construction and after completion, from the late 1930s to the 1950s. The series also depicts some groundbreaking ceremonies; views of building dedications and cornerstone layings; some reproductions of architectural renderings; some architectural details; and candid views of tenants. Noteworthy among these are views of the Harlem River Houses (1936-1937, 1939); the St. Nicholas Houses under construction (1950-1952) and some of the first tenants moving in (1952); architctural details of the Paul Laurence Dunbar Apartments (ca. 1920s); and the construction and official ceremonies for Delano Village (ca. 1957). Among the officials depicted are New York City mayors William O'Dwyer and Robert F. Wagner, Manhattan Borough President Hulan Jack, New York Governor Thomas Dewey and New York City Planning Commissioner Robert Moses. The Harlem urban renewal projects - Riverton series consists mainly of exterior views of the Riverton apartment complex in central Harlem during its construction phase (1947-1948) and as it appeared after completion during its first decade (1947-1956). Construction images consist mainly of ground and elevated views of the structures at various building stages. Images of the completed complex consist mainly of street and elevated views, incorporated with lawns, recreation areas, and some street and pedestrian traffic. Also included are views of the Riverton site before the area was cleared for their construction (1944 and 1946); a series of group portraits that include Clifford L. Alexander, Sr., the first resident manager of Riverton (n.d.); and a series of candid shots of children, a basketball competition and apartment interiors at Riverton (ca. mid-1950s). The Harlem housing conditions series consists of views of deteriorated and unsafe conditions within various Harlem apartments and tenament spaces (1940s-1960s). Views include collapsed ceilings, flood damage, neglected plumbing problems, dangerous stairwells, crumbling plaster, and overcrowded space, among others. Also depicted are tenants either examining or pointing out damage within their living spaces. Also included are some views depicting the condition of residential building exteriors (1938-1967). The Harlem housing - miscellaneous series consists mainly of exterior views of Harlem apartment buildings and residential structures (late 1930s-1960s); views of demolition sites (ca. 1940s); interior views of apartments rehabilitated by the New York Rehabilitation Project (ca. 1966-1967); and some candid shots of tenants and building inspectors (1940s-1950s). The New York City and United States housing series consists of views of tract houses and other individual dwellings, planned housing developments, depressed urban and rural communities, reproductions of architectural renderings, and damaged and unsafe housing conditions. Also included are candid shots and group portraits of residents and tenants, from mainly the 1940s-1950s. The series includes several Southern states, portions of New York City's Brooklyn and Queens communities, and a group of images depicting housing conditions in Philadelphia (ca. 1935-1953).
Dates / Origin
Date Created: 1915 - 1967 (Approximate)
Library locations
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division
Shelf locator: Sc Photo Housing
Housing, Rural -- United States
African Americans -- Housing
Planned communities -- United States
Apartments -- New York (N.Y.)
Public housing -- New York (N.Y.)
Physical Description
Extent: 579 items (5 boxes, 1.3 lin. ft.) 181 photographic prints : silver gelatin, b&w ; 26 x 21 cm. and smaller. 321 photographic prints : silver gelatin, b&w ; 21 x 26 cm. and smaller. 71 photographic prints : silver gelatin, b&w ; 8 x 10 cm. and smaller. 3 photographic prints : silver gelatin, b&w ; 28 x 36 cm. and smaller. 1 photographic print : col. ; 10 x 15 cm. 2 photographic postcards : silver gelatin, b&w ; 9 x 14 cm.
Type of Resource
Still image
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b15827555
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 54ef4850-c6d5-012f-a571-3c075448cc4b
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