Percy Loomis Sperr produced more than 40,000 photos of the five boroughs from the 1920s to the 1940s, hired by the New York Public Library to chronicle the changing architectural landscape of the city.
“Although these were photos that were by no means meant to be artistic, they give us a glimpse of what the area looked like almost 100 years ago,” said Jason Antos, Chairman of the Board. of the Queens Historical Society.
Sperr’s work is part of a new photo exhibition at the headquarters of the Queens Historical Society at Kingsland Homestead in Flushing, a historic 18th-century house. It shows a Queens that was predominantly rural until the 1920s, when the subways and the Long Island Rail Road brought more development and people. Most of the photos are from Antos’ own collection.
The exhibition, titled “Capturing Queens,” also features the work of photographer Frederick Weber, who chronicled the Borough during the same period.
“The Sperrs are very outspoken and they are more of a Queens landscape that we know we get to see what it looked like in the mid-twentieth century where the Webers are more staged and we get a glimpse of who lived. in Queens, ”said Daniela Addamo, curator at the Historical Society.
“These photographs are one of the few ways we have to remember the smallest details about Queens that would otherwise have been lost,” said Jeran Halfpap, the company’s education and outreach coordinator.
This is the first exhibit open to the public at the Queens Historical Society since before the pandemic. Visitors are greeted with a timed entry system. The exhibition is part of the company’s mission to chronicle the history of the borough.
“Queens has definitely become a very unique place, and of course it is the Borough of the World, so that name means a lot and it continues to be, hopefully, for a very long time,” said the CEO. Branka Duknic.
You can view the “Capturing Queens” exhibit until February 2022.
To find out more, visit https://queenshistoricalsociety.org.