People and Professions

The true dynamic of early-1900 New York City is illustrated best by the people who lived, worked and played there. And as far back as 1876, our authentic photo collection shows New Yorkers—immigrants to America arriving through New York Harbor, laborers, professionals, children and street vendors—and a street life like no other.

Woman Dentist, 1909

Woman Dentist, 1909

The pioneer woman dentist, Dr. Rankin, gets ready to perform an extraction.  The patient looks relaxed, but there's no sign of anesthesia.  If he's lucky, she's given him a shot of novocaine, which had recently been invented.  If not, she might have injected him with cocaine, which had been in use as a local anesthetic since the 1880s.

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Workers atop Grand Central Terminal, 1950

Workers atop Grand Central Terminal, 1950

View east toward workers painting the flagpole on Grand Central Terminal.  The collossal clock and statue of "Transportation" by French artist Jules-Alexis Coutan are in the background. On the statue Mercury is flanked by Minerva and Hercules. Minerva, the goddess of wisdom, represents the thought and planning put into this building, while Mercury, the god of speed, represents both the speed of commerce and, of course, the speed of trains, and Hercules represents the strength of the men who built GCT.  The flagpole has since been removed.

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