The Print, Map & Photograph Collections of the Staten Island Museum…

The Print, Map & Photograph Collections of the Staten Island Museum…

In 1969, the Staten Island Institute of Arts and Sciences (now the Staten Island Museum) published the pamphlet Print, Map & Photograph Collections. Librarian Gail Schneider was responsible for the publication. It is a wonderful missive that describes the above collections and it is a handy reference to these formats. This publication coincided with cataloguing the History Collection of the Staten Island Institute of Arts and Sciences. Another important person involved with these efforts was historian Hugh Powell.

Print, Map & Photograph Collections, cover, 1969.

The oldest photos of Staten Island were taken by H. Hoyer. He had a studio in Tompkinsville in 1859. According to the pamphlet “Hoyer began compiling a series of stereo views of the typical village scenes and rural areas of the island. On August 10, 1859, he advertised that he had a large collection of these views available for sale at $3.50 per dozen.” Sad to say, not many have survived, but those that have are the earliest photos taken on the island.

John J. Crooke, circa 1866.

The next oldest photo collection at the Staten Island Museum is referred to as the John J. Crooke Collection. Crooke photographed on the island from 1860-1875. He took pictures of his family, himself, the area around his Great Kills Estate, and elsewhere. Many have a natural history theme.

In all there were ninety-eight photographers in the Museum’s Archives circa 1969. Forty-three of these individuals were local. There are ambrotypes, daguerreotypes, carte-de-visite, tin-types, postcards, and much more in the collection. The largest collection of photos was taken by William T. Davis. He began photographing in 1900 and he did not stop for forty years.

Hugh Powell, 2013.

For further information on Staten Island photographers of the past I would suggest consulting the Hugh Powell Collection at the Archives of the Staten Island Museum when it reopens. Hugh did a phenomenal amount of research on this topic. This includes Mathew Brady and his relationship to Staten Island.

For further information contact Gabriella Leone at the Archives of the Staten Island Museum. When the museum reopens she can be reached at 718-727-1135.

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