Skip to main content Skip to main navigation

Bob Edelson photographs

Call Number

PR 359


1970s-1980s, inclusive


Edelson, Bob, 1934-


4 Linear feet in one flat box and one oversize flat file

Language of Materials

English .


The collection includes 55 photographs and one poster by photographer Bob Edelson. The images, taken in the 1970s-1980s, are primarily of the SoHo neighborhood of New York City. These images include exterior views of restaurants, cafes, stores, music venues, and other commercial establishments in SoHo and, to a limited extent, the immediate areas to the north and south. Pedestrians, customers sitting at sidewalk tables and window seats, street art/graffiti, murals, sidewalk cellar entrances, and other features of the urban streetscape appear throughout.

Biographical/Historical Note

Bob Edelson was born 21 September 1934 in Brooklyn, NY. He earned his B.S and M.A. degrees in psychology, which led to a career of over 25 years as a marketing/creative consultant to several major consumer products companies and advertising agencies. He retired in the early 1980s, moving from New York to South Florida. Although in his retirement years Edelson began pursuing his artistic pursuit of photography more fully, he had been a serious photographer since some time in the 1970s. His work from the 1970s and into the 1990s led to four books published with his images of streetscapes in lower Manhattan (especially the SoHo, or "South of Houston Street," neighborhood) and street art/graffiti.

Arrangement Note

The collection is arranged by size of photograph.

Scope and Contents

The collection includes 55 photographs and one poster by photographer Bob Edelson (born 1934). The images were taken in the 1970s-1980s, primarily in the New York City neighborhood of SoHo ("South of Houston Street"), with some from Greenwich Village (north of Houston Street to 14th Street) and from the area where SoHo blends into Little Italy and Chinatown. The photographs primarily capture the exterior views and signage of commercial establishments (restaurants, cafes, stores, music venues), often with direct, head-on shots, but also with wide angle views down street blocks. Pedestrians and customers sitting at sidewalk tables or at window seats frequently appear in the photographs. Wall murals and street art/graffiti are found in many of the photographs. Most of the photographs have identifiable locations through street signs or signage, though some are uncertain. None of the photographs are titled or captioned here, but most, perhaps all, are found in one of Edelson's books, which are also held by N-YHS; the books include the photographer's descriptive captions. Although most of the photographs are black and white, many are color. The container list provides more detail on sizes, color/b&w, and identifiable locations.

Access Restrictions

Available by advance appointment only. To schedule an appointment, contact the Print Room Librarian at

Use Restrictions

Application to use images from this collection for publication should be made in writing to:

Department of Rights and Reproductions, The New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024-5194,, 212-485-9228.

Preferred Citation Note

This collection should be cited as Bob Edelson photographs, PR 359, Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections, The New-York Historical Society.

Credit line: Gift of the photographer.

Immediate Source of Acquisition Note

Gift from the photographer, Bob Edelson, September-October 2017.

Separated Materials Note

The photographer also donated a copy of his four books. These were cataloged and shelved individually. These were:

Below 14th Street (F128.37.E34 B4 1994)

SoHo, New York City (F128.62.S64 E34 1993)

Street Art Noir (ND2608.2.E34 2008)

New American Street Art (ND2608.E34 1999)

Collection processed by

Larry Weimer

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2023-08-21 15:46:54 -0400.
Using Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language: Description is written in: English, Latin script.

Processing Information Note

The collection was processed by archivist Larry Weimer in April 2018.


New-York Historical Society
New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024