Picture Book Of Earlier Buffalo: Photography, History And Preservation
The Picture Book of Earlier Buffalo is an artifact of the discourse on modern architecture, influencing the reader's perception of not only the built environment, but also of the past. The Picture Book includes roughly four hundred historic photographs and narrative text, compiled in 1912 by Frank Severance, the Secretary-Treasurer of the Buffalo Historical Society. The collection depicts nineteenth-century buildings that were demolished in order to make room for the rapid growth of the industrial era, thereby reimagining a city that had already disappeared by the time of the book's publication. The volume serves as a city in miniature, providing a visual journey through a vanished urban landscape that illustrates the ruins and rebirths of constant urban reinvention which still resonate today. This collection reveals the contemporary values that are often displayed in a reconstructed memory of the past. The volume suggests that modernity was not only evident in new structures and styles, but is also fundamentally linked to an awareness of what has to be destroyed in order to attain that new vision. The collection simultaneously functions as an act of preservation, an expression of mourning, and a record of wonder at the urban transformations. How does this book translate the visual experience of the city, its past and future, for the reader? How is photography, an inherently modern medium, utilized to suggest a relationship between modernity and the ongoing cycle of destruction of renewal? How does this photographic vision contrast today with the reading of contemporary images of a shrinking Buffalo? Furthermore, the book can be newly reinterpreted by historians over time, from Severance's era to today, projecting the reader towards the future Buffalo as well into a remembrance of the city's now modern past.
photography; preservation; history
Woods, Mary Norman
Chusid, Jeffrey M.
History of Architecture and Urban Development
M.A., History of Architecture and Urban Development
Master of Arts
dissertation or thesis