Visualizing 19th-Century New York Digital Publication

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Edward Anthony and Henry T. Anthony 

Broadway on a Rainy Day, Anthony’s Instantaneous Views, No. 5095

Published by E. & H.T. Anthony & Co, 1859

Albumen silver prints from glass negatives (stereoscopic views)

Inscription: Edward Anthony 

3 1/2 × 6 7/8 in. (8.0 × 17.5 cm)

The New-York Historical Society, PR65.0423.0019

Stereoviews depicted the world with heightened realism, giving people the experience of traveling the globe or reliving popular urban spectacles and historical moments by seeing the sites in something that resembled three dimensions. Edward Anthony focused on capturing, and selling, the glistening streets and crowded sidewalks of Broadway in this “instantaneous stereograph” that represented the city as a site of modernity. The short exposure time captured New York’s epicenter at its most active, a feat unachieved in photographic antecedents, where figures and vehicles had remained blurry and ghostlike. The effect is here enhanced by not only the inherent three-dimensionality of the stereoscopic format, but also the application of color to sky, street, edifices, and life.  

Virginia Spofford + Martina D’Amato