[Construction worker during the construction of the Salmon Building, 11 West 42nd Street, New York City, circa 1928].
The collection consists of 1,885 gelatin silver photographic prints, as well as documents from a disbound scrapbook containing ephemera relating to Irving Browning's career as a photographer and cinematographer. Photographs depict interiors and exteriors of art deco buildings, some under construction: they include theaters, hotels, skyscrapers, suburban residences, shops and institutions. Also captured are close-ups of Manhattan shoppers and window displays, Lower East Side peddlers, advertising sandwich boards, roof tops, Great Depression shanty towns and street life, dramatic skylines, night views, weather, sports, and many types of transportation. Portraits of Margaret Mead are included. Samples of the photomontage technique Irving Browning developed for his advertising clients complete the collection. Heavily represented locations include the Chrysler, Daily News, and Empire State Buldings, and the Earl Carroll and RKO Roxy theatres. Documents include photographic identification cards, press identification cards, professional membership cards, clippings, advertisements, and some correspondence.
Irving Browning (1895-1961), a self-taught photographer and cinematographer, opened a commercial photograph studio in New York City in the early 1920s. Skilled in appealing portrayal of new buildings, Irving and his younger brother Sam photographed exteriors and interiors of art deco theaters, hotels, apartment buildings, and suburban residences.