"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.