Photographs of Early New York

by Robert Ludwig Bracklow

"Wouldn't it be wonderful to discover, amid the mildewing millions of pictures from the past, an American Atget - an as yet unheralded photographer, that is, who could claim to have documented our premier native city, New York, with the same zeal and purpose with which Eugene Atget recorded Paris at the beginning of this century? Wonderful yes, but also highly unlikely. Yet beneath our jaded eyes there has appeared a photographer who can be considered a contender for just such a title: Robert L Bracklow, a turn of the century amateur whose love of New York City is very much in evidence in a 160 print exhibition of his work now at the New York Historical Society - Shanties to Skyscrapers - " Andy Grundberg in the New York Times January 8 1984.


Robert Ludwig Bracklow was born in Germany in 1849 but grew up in Hells Kitchen New York where his parents settled shortly after his birth. He was a stationery merchant by profession, but his passion was photography. He was one of the founding members of the New York Photographic Society and in 1893 won the membership exhibition award against such luminaries as Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Steichen.


RL Bracklow with Friends from The New York Photographic Society

Robert Bracklows Stationery Shop in Hells Kitchen

The Flatiron Building

19th Century Bathing on Coney Island

A man asked me why I lived in among the green hills and I just smiled with my heart completely at rest.


I see the peach blossom growing wild, petals falling into the water then floating away.


Yes, here by these hills I live, like no other place on earth.



Li Pai ca. 750 AD