John J. Cribbin Collection

Cover Image:
Atlantic Ave looking North, January 1975.
Atlantic Ave looking North, January 1975.

Collection Facts


Historical Context

John J. Cribbin (1925-2002) served as official village photographer for the village of Lynbrook from 1975 until his passing in 2002. John and his wife Elaine resided at 69 Wilson St in Lynbrook beginning in 1956. John was a quiet, humble man who took great pride in his work. He developed his own photos and was engaged sometimes weekly by the village to photograph all events ranging from easter egg hunts and ribbon cutting ceremonies to legislative meetings and hurricane damage. The role of Official Photographer was important and uncommon at that time because the cost of equipment to capture a crisp photograph was much more expensive than the era's popular Polaroids and non adjustable disposable cameras. 

Although capable of printing in color, all of John’s works were commissioned in black and white, as newspapers during that time were only capable of printing in black and white. Within three days, John would deliver seven copies to the village: one was distributed to each of the three local newspapers, one was sent by the mayor as a courtesy to any citizen in the photo, and two were kept for the village newsletter and scrapbook file.  More copies were ordered if there were large groups of individuals in the photo.

Some of John's works include photos used for the “cherry blossom” postcard (circa 1977) of Village Hall, and the Golf Scorecard (9th hole, circa 1986) of the Lake Success Village Golf Course. John was also commissioned by candidates for village office every biannual election, which included both incumbent and opposition candidates. His photos were used for press releases in the local newspapers and political literature. Thanks to John's humble demeanor, he was trusted by both parties to not disclose what the next public relations event was for each candidate. John also served his country in the Army from 1943-1946. (This summary was written by John Giordano, Village Clerk, May 2023.)

Scope of Collection

The collection consists of the 123 images of Lynbrook that date from 1975 to 1991. These images come from 35mm slides and were digitized by ScanCafe in August 2010 and made their debut on New York Heritage in May 2023 thanks to the efforts of John Giordano (Village Clerk), Arthur S. Mattson (Village Historian), and Robert Anen (Project Archivist for LILRC).