Street Scenes

Collection History

This digital compilation was developed in support of the NYPL website, "The African American Migration Experience," a sweeping 500-year historical narrative from the transatlantic slave trade to the Western migration, the colonization movement, the Great Migration, and the contemporary immigration of Caribbeans, Haitians, and sub-Saharan Africans.

Related Resources

NYPL. "In Motion: The African-American Migration Experience."(2005) <>

Collection Data

Collection consists mainly of views of streets in west and central Harlem, New York, from the late 1800s to the 1970s. Much of the collection covers the 1930s to the 1950s. Depicted are views of thoroughfares, such as 125th Street, 135th Street and Lenox Avenue; some residential buildings; local businesses and street vendors; theaters; transportation, including elevated subway lines; residents, particularly children, involved in various activities; and some street events. Also included are views of East Harlem, and photographic reproductions of paintings and drawings depicting the rural landscape and early development of Harlem and Upper Manhattan (ca. 1800s). Images documenting Harlem during the 1900s-1920s and 1960s-1970s are limited, as are depictions of colonial New York, other sections of New York City, and other U.S. cities.
Dates / Origin
Date Created: 1901 - 1998 (Questionable)
Library locations
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division
Shelf locator: Sc Photo Street Scenes
Theaters -- New York (N.Y.)
Harlem (New York, N.Y.)
Street photography -- New York (N.Y.)
City and town life
Commercial strips
African Americans -- Social life and customs
City dwellers
Small business
Physical Description
Extent: 285 items (5 boxes, 1.2 lin. ft.) 47 photographic prints : silver gelatin, b&w ; 26 x 21 cm. and smaller. 210 photographic prints : silver gelatin, b&w ; 21 x 26 cm. and smaller. 19 photographic prints : silver gelatin, b&w ; 41 x 51 cm. and smaller. 1 photographic print : col. ; 21 x 26 cm. 8 stats : b&w ; 16 x 23 cm. and smaller.
Type of Resource
Still image
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b15580587
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 97701f60-c6e8-012f-cd69-3c075448cc4b
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