Mapping Anthony Angel’s Photographs of Manhattan

Photographer Angelo Antonio Rizzuto – or Anthony Angel, as he called himself –  captured a variety of people, structures, and places in Manhattan over the eighteen-year period from 1949 through 1967. Collectively, the thousands of images by Angel in the Prints & Photographs Division offer a window into life and the built environment in a place that has no shortage of subjects to draw one’s eye.

Capitalizing on Angel’s coverage of nearly the entire length of Manhattan, Prints & Photographs Division Technical Services Technician Michelle An used Story Maps, a program that enables the creator to merge a narrative with mapping technology, to create a dynamic resource that encourages researchers to explore the collection in new ways: “Midcentury Manhattan: Mapping Anthony Angel’s photographic journey through Midtown Manhattan and beyond.”

Screenshot showing view of Manhattan with markers corresponding to mapped images from <a href="//www.loc.gov/ghe/cascade/index.html?appid=7293baafbcff48d2a2b1c5ff9b14fb32&bookmark=Introduction?loclr=blogpic" target="_blank">Midcentury Manhattan: Mapping Anthony Angel’s photographic journey through Midtown Manhattan and beyond.</a>

Screenshot showing view of Manhattan with markers corresponding to mapped images from Midcentury Manhattan: Mapping Anthony Angel’s photographic journey through Midtown Manhattan and beyond.

The Story Map describes how attention to details in the photographs themselves – street signs, storefront advertising, distinctive architectural details, and more – enabled staff to identify specific location information. Library staff used this information to place a marker or spot for a given image on a map of Manhattan, and as a result, Story Map users can click on a marker to see a preview of that image along with a description and a link to the online catalog record. Below, you can see what it looks like to click on the spot corresponding to a view of “Broadway looking south from 72nd Street.” The Story Map provides links to a broad cross section of 465 images from the collection.

Screenshot showing preview view of image superimposed over map of Manhattan from <a href="//www.loc.gov/ghe/cascade/index.html?appid=7293baafbcff48d2a2b1c5ff9b14fb32&amp;bookmark=Introduction?loclr=blogpic" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Midcentury Manhattan: Mapping Anthony Angel’s photographic journey through Midtown Manhattan and beyond</a>.

Screenshot showing preview view of image superimposed over map of Manhattan from Midcentury Manhattan: Mapping Anthony Angel’s photographic journey through Midtown Manhattan and beyond.

To ensure the markers appeared in the right place on the map, Michelle worked with Tim St. Onge from the Library’s Geography & Map Division to compile the map data. Michelle notes: “Tim was a huge help. He took our initial compilation of addresses and place names and converted the information to include latitude and longitude coordinates in the geographic coordinate system. He used a combination of AGOL geocoding and Google Maps to pinpoint accurate locations, which was especially helpful for features in Central Park for Gapstow Bridge and Wollman Rink, and Battery Park for the Netherland Monument and the Statue of Giovanni da Verrazzano.”

In addition to showing how researchers can explore the collection by interacting with the map, the “Midtown Manhattan” Story Map identifies and describes several categories of images that might be of interest to researchers, including bird’s eye views of Manhattan:

Bird's-eye view of 5th Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. Features cars driving down busy street and skyscrapers.

Bird’s-eye view of 5th Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. Photo by Angelo Rizzuto, 1959. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.70641

The Story Map calls attention to the many sculptures and architectural elements photographed by Angel:

Marble lions sculptures located on steps of the main branch of the New York Public Library on 5th Avenue, Manhattan, New York City. Photo by Angelo Rizzuto, 1953. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.69644

Marble lions sculptures located on steps of the main branch of the New York Public Library on 5th Avenue, Manhattan, New York City. Photo by Angelo Rizzuto, 1953. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.69644

Sidewalk portraits show Angel’s interest in photographing ordinary people as they went about their day. Geographic location is less of a focus for these images. Michelle adds, “I wanted to highlight photographs in the Story Map of people that did not make it into the mapped data. Angel captured fashion and street life of the inhabitants of New York City, especially of women. Be sure to check out additional candid photographs in the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog by using the search term “woman” together with “Anthony Angel” to find more images like the photograph below.”

Unlike the images shown above in the blog post, the following photograph does not have a marker on the map due to a lack of location information, but it is featured as a standalone image in the Story Map.

Street portrait of woman with shoulder covering and lace collar. Photo by Angelo Rizzuto, 1957. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.70207

Woman with shoulder covering and lace collar. Photo by Angelo Rizzuto, 1957. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.70207

Similarly, this image is included in the section featuring photographers in action:

Woman holding a home movie camera while walking on New York City sidewalk. Photo by Angelo Rizzuto, 1956. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.69968

Woman holding a home movie camera while walking on New York City sidewalk. Photo by Angelo Rizzuto, 1956. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.69968

Perhaps my favorite part of the “Midcentury Manhattan” Story Map is the “Test your Skills” section, which prompts you to look at a couple of photographs closely, initially withholding title information so that you can read the image on its own before clicking on a supplied link to the full online catalog record description. This is a fun exercise for those of us interested in exercising our visual literacy skills.

We hope this brief introduction entices you to explore more on your own.

Learn More:

One Comment

  1. Barbara
    September 28, 2022 at 7:13 pm

    Fantastic work — a most inviting way to tour a very worthwhile collection. Thanks for describing what the Story Map has to offer. I can’t wait to explore!

Add a Comment

This blog is governed by the general rules of respectful civil discourse. You are fully responsible for everything that you post. The content of all comments is released into the public domain unless clearly stated otherwise. The Library of Congress does not control the content posted. Nevertheless, the Library of Congress may monitor any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove content for any reason whatever, without consent. Gratuitous links to sites are viewed as spam and may result in removed comments. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on the Library site. Read our Comment and Posting Policy.

Required fields are indicated with an * asterisk.