University of the State of New York. Division of Health and Physical Education
Photographs, circa 1933-1936

PRI3425

Quantity: 55 black-and-white photographs (11 folders)
Access: Open to research
Restrictions: White cotton gloves must be worn when handling photographs.
Acquisition: Received as a gift from the University of the State of New York’s Division of Health and Physical Education
Processed By: April Fernandez, Student Assistant, University at Albany, April 2009

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Scope and Content Note

This collection of 55 black-and-white photographs documents community recreational activities in or near New York City in the 1930s. The photographs include many images of school children experimenting with artistic techniques, putting on plays or engaging in other activities at day camps or community centers. There are also images of adults engaging in activities such as sewing or dance classes at community recreation centers. None of the individuals in the photos are identified.

There are four series in the collection. The first and largest series consists of photographs from the Art Service Project of the Works Project Administration (WPA). Many of these prints are stamped on the back in red ink and/or have a strip of paper attached, indicating that they are documenting a project of the WPA. Some include a short description and a project number, and some are dated.

The second series documents activities of the Child Study Association of America. These prints are labeled with an attached strip of paper indicating the date and include a small caption of the image. All of these prints are stamped on the back by A. Tennyson Beals Photography. 

The third series of photographs, which are not labeled, document activities of the University of the State of New York’s Division of Health and Physical Education. (University of the State of New York is the official name for what is commonly called and known as the State Education Department.) Most of the items appear to be related to an exhibit on physical education and recreation. The exact location of this exhibit is not known, but most likely somewhere in New York State.

The last series is just three photographs unrelated to the previous three series. One of these photos is from the Sunnyside Gardens Community Association, and the others are unidentified from Buffalo, N.Y.

Item List:


Folder Photo Caption / [Description
    Works Progress Administration Art Service Project Photographs
1 1 Scene from “Dead End,” Street & play centers,  exp. Grand Central Palace, project 65-97-193 / [A group of young boys acting a scene from a play]
1 2 Boys from “Dead End” in a street play program, exp. at Grand Central Palace, project 65-97-193 / [Out-of-focus photograph of boys acting out a boxing scene in a play]
1 3 Boys from “Dead End” in a street play program, exp. at Grand Central Palace, project 65-97-193 / [A group of young boys acting a scene from a play]
1 4 Circle game – School of Rec., exp. Grand Central Palace / [A group of men sitting in a circle playing a game with balloons with onlookers]
1 5 Dance group, recreational agencies, exp. at Grand Central Palace, project 65-97-269 / [Group of children posing; two children are wearing kimonos]
2 6 Puppet show at N.Y.U. Recreation Conference, educational puppetry project, project 65-97-124 art 1, December 5, 6, 7, 1935 / [Group of people constructing puppets in a work shop; sign reads: Class Work/Puppetry/Madison Sq./Boy’s Club]
2 7 Sewing class, Edenwald School, recreational agencies, project 65-97-269 / [Group of women sewing with sewing machines; hanging on the wall are two McCall school charts; McCall made paper clothing patterns.]
2 8 Masks at East Side House, January 31, 1936, recreational agencies, project 65-97-269 / [Three hand-painted, tribal style masks]
2 9 Lunch time, Van Cortlandt Park, day outing camps, project 65-97-135 / [In the foreground is a woman standing behind a long wooden table on which are a pile of sandwiches and several dozen metal (?) cups with handles; a line of children is working its way along the other side of the table; in the background are a tent and several picnic benches.]
2 10 Puppet exhibit at N.Y.U. Recreation Conference, educational puppetry, project 65-97-124 Part 1, December 5, 6, 7, 1935 / [Out-of-focus photograph of two complete puppets and the parts needed to make a third puppet]
3 11 Folk dancing, Union Settlement, recreational agencies, project 65-97-269 [Two couples in European-style folk costumes engaged a dance]
3 12 Lunch time – Van Cortlandt Park, day outing camps, project 65-97-135 / [A woman is ladling soup from a cylindrical container into the bowl of a small girl]
3 13 Snow scene at Inwood Park [Bronx, N.Y.?], January 1936, day outing camps, project 65-97-135 [A man wearing a cowboy hat is giving instructions to a group of boys flanking him; in the background are what appear to be a teepee and an outhouse. All are wearing jackets and there is snow on the ground.]
3 14 Showers, pre-school activities, Hamilton House, project 65-97-124 Part 2 / [Two women bathing a group of children in an outdoor shower]
3 15 Showers, pre-school, First Hebrew Day Nursery, project 65-97-124 Part 2 / [A group of children, some wearing bathing caps, are washing each other in an outdoor shower.]
3 16 Boys from “Dead End,” street play program, exp. at Grand Central Palace, project 65-97-193 [Out-of-focus photograph of boys acting out a boxing scene in a play; enlargement of Photo 2]
    Child Study Association of America Photographs
4 17 Child Study Association of America, summer play schools, Studying Our Community and Its Bridge, 11-13-year-olds, community 1936 / [Children in a classroom building a model of a town. In the background the children are painting a mural, one building of which is labeled School 55; in the center of the room the children are building a bridge; in the foreground children are working at smaller projects in tables.]
4 18 Child Study Association of America, summer play schools, Having Lunch Together, 7-10-year-olds, Little Red School House 1936 / [Children and adults sitting on small wooden chairs at low wooden tables in a classroom eating lunch; professional and children’s murals adorn the walls.]
4 19 Child Study Association of America, summer play schools, Studying the Post Office, 9- and 10-year-olds, Hudson Guild 1936 / [Children in a classroom playing in a model of a post office]
4 20 Child Study Association of America, summer play schools, We Study the Lumber Industry, 9-year-olds, Manhattanville 1936 / [Children in a classroom working on arts and crafts related to the lumber industry; children’s paintings adorn the walls]
5 21 Child Study Association of America, summer play schools, Our House and Neighborhood Store, 8-year-olds, Little Red School House 1936 / [Children in a classroom painting and playing house]
5 22 Child Study Association of America, summer play schools, making and playing with puppets, Little Red School House 1936 / [Children in a classroom working on arts and crafts projects related to puppetry]
5 23 Child Study Association of America, summer play schools, Transportation, 7-year-olds, Community 1936 / [Children in a classroom working on arts and crafts projects related to transportation]
5 24 Child Study Association of America, summer play schools, Outdoor Play Activities, 7- and 8-year-olds, Manhattanville 1936 / [Children playing outside on jungle gym, see-saw, and in a sand box]
    University of the State of New York’s Division of Health and Physical Education Photographs
6 25 [Barge on which are built structures emulating urban and undeveloped land; the barge is at the edge of a body of water used for swimming.]
6 26 [Unidentified group of men posing in the undeveloped area of the barge in Photo 25]
6 27 [Two unidentified men looking at a photo display of social and family recreation activities of the State Education Department Physical Education and Recreation Division]. See also Photo 37.
6 28 Enlargement of Photo 27
6 29 Enlargement of Photo 27
6 30 [Continuation of the display in Photo 27]. See also Photo 37.
7 31 [Duplicate image of Photo 30]
7 32 [Three unidentified men looking at display boards featured in Photo 27; photo is out of focus]
7 33 [Photo display camping woodcraft photos of the State Education Department Physical Education and Recreation Division; photo is out of focus]
7 34 [A group of people viewing the photo display illustrated in Photos 27 and 30; photo is out of focus]
8 35-39 [Five photos are taped together to provide a panoramic view of an exhibit put together by the State Education Department Physical Education and Recreation Division. A group of people viewing a display of photographs and other items of the State Education Department Physical Education and Recreation Division. The display focuses on games, gymnastics, sports; social and family recreation; and handcraft hobbies. Photo 41 is a duplicate of Photo 30.]
9 40-47 Stunt Night at the Gym. / [Eight photos are taped together to provide a panoramic view of an exhibit put together by the State Education Department Physical Education and Recreation Division. Photo 42 shows a display of puppets and photographs of dancing and rhythms. Photo 43 shows a group of people looking at the display of photographs of games, gymnastics and sports. Photo 44 is a duplicate of Photos 27, 28 and 29. Photo 45 is a duplicate of Photo 39. Photo 46 is a duplicate of Photos 30, 31 and 41. Photo 47 is a duplicate of Photo 40. Photo 48 shows three unidentified men demonstrating shooting a bow and arrow at a target as part of the exhibit. Photo 49 shows a crowd of people in the gymnasium viewing the exhibit.]
10 48-50 [Three photos are taped together to provide a panoramic view of an exhibit put together by the State Education Department Physical Education and Recreation Division. Photo 50 is a duplicate of Photos 39 and 45. Photo 51 is a duplicate of Photos 30, 31, 41 and 46. Photo 52 is a duplicate of Photos 27, 28, 29 and 44.]
    Miscellaneous Photographs
11 51 Chautauqua County Playday, Mayville, N.Y., August 19, 1936 / [Marching band of men and women musicians in a street parade]
11 52 [Unidentified female gymnastics troupe; some women posing on a parallel bars and some sitting on the floor]
11 53 Flower-making/An orchid in the making/Handicraft Inst., Buffalo / [Close-up view of two unidentified women creating a handmade flower.]
11 54 Members of the community consulting the social calendar of the week in the school hall.  [Verso, in pencil:] Spectators viewing recreation exhibit, Buffalo, 1936. / [Close-up view of six unidentified people looking at a bulletin board]
11 55 Sunnyside Gardens Community Association, Photo from Clarence J. O’Neil-Sunnyside, L.T. / [A group of children taking a nap on blankets on the grass; two women sitting on a bench.]
Last Updated: October 22, 2010