Locating Building Photographs

By Maureen A. Taylor Premium

Q. I live in Dallas and my grandparents Lizzie and Ruben Unterman owned a tailor shop in Manhattan, New York City, probably in the 1940s and ’50s. Where might I be able to find pictures of this shop?

A. I’d start with the New York Public Library (NYPL). A portion of its photo collection is online. The rest of the material is available through the library’s photographic archive. While chances are slim that you’d locate an image with your grandparents’ tailor shop as the subject, it’s more likely you’ll find the shop in the background of a street scene. If you’re not certain about the street address for their business, consult New York City directories or phone books (available at most larger public and genealogy libraries) to find one. You also can hire an NYPL researcher through the library’s NYPL Express service.

To look for photos, blueprints and other information on New York City buildings, follow the tips at How to Research a New York City Building on the Columbia University Avery Architecture and Fine Arts Library Web site.

You also can check online photo databases such as Dead Fred. Search the database by surname, and if you can prove a photo belongs to your family, you’ll receive it for the cost of postage.