Vintage: Everyday Life of New York by Wallace G. Levison (19th Century)

Vintage: Everyday Life of New York by Wallace G. Levison (19th Century)


Wallace G. Levison was a chemist, inventor, and lecturer who founded the Departments of Mineralogy and Astronomy at the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences in the latter half of the 19th century.

As the dawn of the 20th century approached, newer, more sensitive film emulsions were developed that allowed pictures to be taken with faster and faster shutter speeds.

Levison’s photographs, snapped amid the hustling crowds of Manhattan and the frolicking bathers of Coney Island, display an obsession with motion and a delight with freezing actions that could previously only be recorded as a blur.

Nov. 6, 1884 - Crowds of men outside the New York Tribune building in lower Manhattan.

Nov. 6, 1884 – Crowds of men outside the New York Tribune building in lower Manhattan. Image: Wallace G. Levison/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

June 27, 1886 - Five men compete in a walking race.

June 27, 1886 – Five men compete in a walking race. Image: Wallace G. Levison/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

July 20, 1886 - Zelma Levison and her aunt Jo Grimwood throw a ball back and forth on a lawn in Prospect Park.

July 20, 1886 – Zelma Levison and her aunt Jo Grimwood throw a ball back and forth on a lawn in Prospect Park. Image: Wallace G. Levison/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Aug. 23, 1886 - A group of young male bathers walk single file along the beach.

Aug. 23, 1886 – A group of young male bathers walk single file along the beach. Image: Wallace G. Levison/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Oct. 14, 1886 - Mr. Stokes jumps off a wall in Fort Greene Park.

Oct. 14, 1886 – Mr. Stokes jumps off a wall in Fort Greene Park. Image: Wallace G. Levison/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

1886 - Uniformed officers in riding boots walk down a street.

1886 – Uniformed officers in riding boots walk down a street. Image: Wallace G. Levison/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

c. 1890 - A woman swings on a rope at Coney Island.

c. 1890 – A woman swings on a rope at Coney Island. Image: Wallace G. Levison/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

June 1, 1891 - An elephant from the Barnes Circus walks down Atlantic Street in Brooklyn.

June 1, 1891 – An elephant from the Barnes Circus walks down Atlantic Street in Brooklyn. Image: Wallace G. Levison/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Sept. 8, 1897 - Gertrude Hubbell, Ruth Peters, and Mildred Grimwood play near the water at Arverne, Queens.

Sept. 8, 1897 – Gertrude Hubbell, Ruth Peters, and Mildred Grimwood play near the water at Arverne, Queens. Image: Wallace G. Levison/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

May 10, 1886 - Nathan Abbott and a young girl walk through Copps Hill Cemetery.

May 10, 1886 – Nathan Abbott and a young girl walk through Copps Hill Cemetery. Image: Wallace G. Levison/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

May 22, 1886 - Girls jump off a stone wall in Fort Greene.

May 22, 1886 – Girls jump off a stone wall in Fort Greene. Image: Wallace G. Levison/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

May 22, 1886 - Isabel Harter rides a tricycle while her sister Nellie rolls a hoop in Fort Greene.

May 22, 1886 – Isabel Harter rides a tricycle while her sister Nellie rolls a hoop in Fort Greene. Image: Wallace G. Levison/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

via Mashable/Retronaut


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