Large photograph by W. Knowlton - the corner of Fourth Avenue and 23rd street, New York City circa 1900. Photographer W. Knowlton.
Large photograph by W. Knowlton - the corner of Fourth Avenue and 23rd street, New York City circa 1900
Fourth Ave and 23rd Street NYC circa 1900

Large photograph by W. Knowlton - the corner of Fourth Avenue and 23rd street, New York City circa 1900

335 Fourth Avenue, New York: W. Knowlton, Photographer circa 1900. First Edition. Mount oblong 14 x 11 inches. Image 9 5/8 x 7 5/8 inches. The image itself is in great condition, the mount with some dirt, several stains, and edgewear. It is unmarked on the rear. Excellent tonality. Very Good. Photograph. [27880]


A fascinating photograph, showing a streetcar zipping away, tracks in the ground, and a ghostly image of a person in the foreground, doubled in the negative as he looks both ways. Two policemen on the corner in white gloves and the normal outfits. The corner building is the College of Physicians & Surgeons, at 303 4th Ave and 23rd street, chartered in 1807, andserving as the Medical Department of Columbia University from June 1860 onward. Heading left is Fourth street, with the first floor corner business of John Reynders & Co, proprietor of Electric Batteries, Surgical Instruments, and Anatomical models. Redynders was active at 303 Fourth Ave and 314 E. 22d from at least 1885-1900. The adjacent establishment (to the left) is J. M. Horton's Ice Cream Company with a number of horse and buggy "trucks" in front. Horton, circa 1900 was supplying over 1/2 the ice cream sold in NYC. The next building is Ashland House. We were initially confused, because the photographer, W. Knowlton, is the name of an Elimira NY photographer - and we thought the "335 Fourth Street" was the address shown in the image. But additional research confirms that W. Knowlton was a NYC photographer with studios at 335 Fourth Avenue (and also 1162 Broadway). The NYPL database notes Knowlton was American, and active in the 1870s-1890s.

We date this image to the later portion of Knowlton's output, as the electricity lines in the photograph are fairly developed. The lower part of Manhattan was first electrified in 1882 by Edison with the opening of Pearl Street Station. The corner street lamp appears to be an electric arc lamp, perhaps by Brush. A fascinating NYC street scene at a time when the city was transforming from horse and buggy to (soon) automobiles. We haven't been able to trace any other examples of this image.

References: American Surgical Instruments, Edmonson, p227. Medical Register of NY & Vicinity, 1872, Vol X. NYT obituary of J. M. Horton.

Price: $250.00