Kingston, New York Shop Interiors circa 1914
Scope of Collection
From the Edwin M. and Ruth Ford Photograph Collection, Friends of Historic Kingston Archives.
This collection of 50 photographs was purchased by Edwin and Ruth Ford in 1970 from the estate of Charlotte McGraw, founder and owner of Artcraft Camera on North Front Street, Kingston. The photographs are time exposures for which the sitters had to pose motionless for one to three minutes.
The collection presents a visual document of daily commerce in Kingston circa 1914 that is so complete, it implies a purpose: Why were these photos taken and who was the photographer? Both answers remain a mystery. The date of the photographs, “circa 1914”, was established by the year visible on the calendars in the backgrounds of several of the images.
A sampling from the 1914 Kingston City Directory lists: 40 barbers, 109 dressmakers, 12 blacksmiths, 122 grocers, 17 hotels, 23 restaurants, 16 cigar and tobacco stores, 39 shoemakers and repairers, 31 tailors and repairers, 18 men’s furnishing goods, 105 saloons and 8 ice cream manufacturers. Some of these businesses were included in this series of photographs.
A major Hudson River port and railroad hub, Kingston offered excellent shipping facilities which attracted factory owners. In 1914, the city was a manufacturing center for a variety of products from lace curtains, cardboard cartons and can openers to ladies’ dresses and cigars. Kingston’s shops were supported by a population of approximately 26,000 people in 1914. Many of these family businesses were still “keeping store” several generations later.