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Gun with brass knuckles & a knife (1939) (courtesy New York City Municipal Archives)

Terry Orwell for Art-Sheep

All images courtesy of New York City Municipal Archives

 

From disfigured bodies on the street to stray streetcars wedged into shop windows, the New York Police Dpt. has been taking pictures of crime scenes almost since photography was invented. Now, the National Endowment for the Humanities is giving a new grant that will bolster the digitization of nearly 30,000 of these images, taken between 1914 to 1975, thus giving the public the opportunity to see them for the first time ever.

A police officer inspecting stills for bootleg liquor in Brooklyn (July 1927) (courtesy New York City Municipal Archives)
A police officer inspecting stills for bootleg liquor in Brooklyn (July 1927) (courtesy New York City Municipal Archives)

Back in the day, when these photographs that are now held by the New York City Department of Records and Information Services were shot, they were put afterwards in boxes and were stored away. 3 years ago, in 2012, the New York City Municipal Archives released over 870,000 photographs in an online database accessible by the public. Although, this was nothing more than a fragment of the huge amount of material they possess, some 2.2 million pictures, audio files, video and other evidence of the likes.
The project has the long title “New York City Police Department Photograph Collection, 1914-1975, Preservation and Access Project” and some of the photographs included in it may strike as familiar, especially to those involved in photography, since they were shot by one of the greats of Documentary Photography, Weegee.
The NYPD photographic collection has images with many subjects, from empty rooms where murders took place, to protests and book burning raids. The NEH grant will grant both the digitization, which will start again in July, as well as the rehousing and description of the pictures, in an effort to assure that despite the fact that history has been put away in boxes for a really long time, it will be accessible from now on.

via hyperallergic

Murder victim Dominick Didato on Elizabeth Street (1936) (courtesy New York City Municipal Archives)
Murder victim Dominick Didato on Elizabeth Street (1936) (courtesy New York City Municipal Archives)
Gun with brass knuckles & a knife (1939) (courtesy New York City Municipal Archives)
Gun with brass knuckles & a knife (1939) (courtesy New York City Municipal Archives)
Protesters climbing police barricades at Columbia University (April 1968) (courtesy New York City Municipal Archives)
Protesters climbing police barricades at Columbia University (April 1968) (courtesy New York City Municipal Archives)
Streetcar that jumped the tracks at Nostrand & Putnam avenues (July 1931) (courtesy New York City Municipal Archives)
Streetcar that jumped the tracks at Nostrand & Putnam avenues (July 1931) (courtesy New York City Municipal Archives)
Murder of Vincenzo Argo at 35 Thompson Street in Manhattan (October 12, 1925) (courtesy New York City Municipal Archives)
Murder of Vincenzo Argo at 35 Thompson Street in Manhattan (October 12, 1925) (courtesy New York City Municipal Archives)
Books designated “indecent” being burned at Manhattan Police Headquarters (1935) (courtesy New York City Municipal Archives)
Books designated “indecent” being burned at Manhattan Police Headquarters (1935) (courtesy New York City Municipal Archives)
Doll on the bed of Virginia Bender at East 137th Street in the Bronx. It was here where she was found dead from apparent strangulation and stabbing. (June 1939) (courtesy New York City Municipal Archives)
Doll on the bed of Virginia Bender at East 137th Street in the Bronx. It was here where she was found dead from apparent strangulation and stabbing. (June 1939) (courtesy New York City Municipal Archives)
Aftermath of a pipe bomb explosion in Pennsylvania Station (March 1955). It was later linked to “Mad Bomber” George S. Metesky, who operated for 16 years in NYC. (courtesy New York City Municipal Archives)
Aftermath of a pipe bomb explosion in Pennsylvania Station (March 1955). It was later linked to “Mad Bomber” George S. Metesky, who operated for 16 years in NYC. (courtesy New York City Municipal Archives)
James W. Ford speaking at a Communist Party rally in Madison Square Garden (May 26, 1938) (courtesy New York City Municipal Archives)
James W. Ford speaking at a Communist Party rally in Madison Square Garden (May 26, 1938) (courtesy New York City Municipal Archives)
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