It just never stops growing…Village Preservation’s Historic Image Archive, that is. The latest addition is the Pryor Dodge Collection, a collection taken between 1966 and 1967. They provide a wonderful snapshot (pardon the pun) into Greenwich Village and the East Village from this time. Featured are children playing, musicians collaborating, and life on the Bowery.
The man responsible for this remarkable collection of photos is Pryor Dodge. Pryor grew up in Greenwich Village, attending the City & Country School, then The Little Red School House, graduating from its high school, Elisabeth Irwin. He was a Boy Scout at Greenwich House and later continued his classical flute studies at its Music School. Washington Square Park was his playground — he traversed it daily on his way to school.
Elisabeth Irwin had an after school photo club with a fully equipped darkroom. The club was the 12th grade homeroom teacher’s brainchild; he taught camera & darkroom technique. The photos in this collection, which Pryor developed and printed in this darkroom, portray a gentler era in the Park. Traditionally, live music was only present on Sundays, folk and bluegrass for the most part, with no amplification.
Other nearby areas called out to Pryor as well. Curious and wanting to acquaint himself with its residents, Pryor visited the Bowery over several Sundays — the Sunshine Hotel area was the popular gathering spot for its meager flea market. Pryor would inquire how residents came to live there, their views on the Vietnam War…and offered them cigarettes in return for a photograph.