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In pictures: New York City street scenes from the early 1900s

Archived photographs from the Bain Collection show daily life in NYC at the dawn of the 20th century.

THOUSANDS OF GLASS negatives and photographic prints taken and filed by one of America’s earliest news picture agencies depict daily life in the US in the last 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Library of Congress has acquired a significant number of images from the archives of that agency and compiled them as the George Grantham Bain Collection.

Many of the Bain images focus on events in New York city, such as these images which document the city’s architecture, disasters and celebrations:

In pictures: New York City street scenes from the early 1900s
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  • 14th St New York

    Firemen tackling a blaze at a burning building on 14th Street, 1909. (Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division)
  • Washington St

    Crowds gather at the Triangle Waist Company fire on Washington Street in 1911. (Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division)
  • Three New York Brooklyn Bridges

    A view from Brooklyn in 1908. (Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division)
  • The Bowery

    People walking in the Bowery, January 1914. (Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division)
  • The vote

    People gather for a suffrage parade in the city. Image taken between 1905 and 1912. (Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division)
  • City transport

    The effort to get onto a Broadway street car in July 1913. (Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division)
  • City run

    Start of Brooklyn marathon, 1909. (Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division)
  • City Hall Park

    Recruiter at work in City Hall Park, New York, 1908. (Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division)
  • Protest against child labour

    Demonstrators protest against the use of child labour during a labour parade in the city on 1 May, 1909. (Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division)
  • 5th Avenue

    City traffic on 5th Avenue, Easter (8 March) 1920. (Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division)
  • Ice-skating

    Ice-skaters at play in Tuxedo Park, New York. Image taken between 1904 and 1924. (Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division)
  • Madison Avenue

    The home of Mrs JP Morgan, wife of financier JP Morgan, 231 Madison Avenue in 1913. (Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division)
  • Firemen

    Firemen pose with their engine. Image taken between 1908 and 1916. (Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division)
  • NYC

    Watering horses on a hot day in July 1911. (Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division)
  • Central Park

    Children on sleds in the park, 1915. (Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division)
  • Washington Square

    Casket of former mayor of New York City John Purroy Mitchel on wagon at Washington Memorial Arch, 1918. (Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division)
  • Medical School and Hospital

    Nurses, doctors, and others with children in beds, 1920, at the New York Post-graduate Medical School and Hospital. (Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division)

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