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December 23, 2017

Amazing Photographs Taken by Wallace G. Levison That Capture Everyday Life of New Yorkers at the Turn of the Century

Wallace G. Levison was a chemist, inventor, and lecturer who founded the Departments of Mineralogy and Astronomy at the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences in the latter half of the 19th century.

According to Mashable/Retronaut, he was also an avid photographer, using the new technology both as a scientific tool and a recreational activity.

As the dawn of the 20th century approached, newer, more sensitive film emulsions were developed that allowed pictures to be taken with faster and faster shutter speeds.

Levison’s photographs, snapped amid the hustling crowds of Manhattan and the frolicking bathers of Coney Island, display an obsession with motion and a delight with freezing actions that could previously only be recorded as a blur.

Nov. 6, 1884 - Crowds of men outside the New York Tribune building in lower Manhattan.

1886 - Uniformed officers in riding boots walk down a street.

May 10, 1886 - Nathan Abbott and a young girl walk through Copps Hill Cemetery.

May 22, 1886 - Girls jump off a stone wall in Fort Greene.

May 22, 1886 - Isabel Harter rides a tricycle while her sister Nellie rolls a hoop in Fort Greene.

May 28, 1886 - J.M. Cornell jumps in the backyard at 314 Livingston Street.

June 19, 1886 - Zelma Levison jumps in the backyard of her home at 314 Livingston Street.

June 20, 1886 - Mildred Grimwood jumps in the backyard at 314 Livingston Street as brother Victor Grimwood and pal Zelma Levison look on.

June 26, 1886 - Jamie Swan jumps off a short stone wall at Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn.

June 27, 1886 - Five men compete in a walking race.

June 11, 1886 - Ethel Merritt jumps in the air at Coney Island.

July 20, 1886 - Zelma Levison and her aunt Jo Grimwood throw a ball back and forth on a lawn in Prospect Park.

Aug. 23, 1886 - A group of young male bathers walk single file along the beach.

Aug. 24, 1886 - An actor talks with bathers on the beach.

Oct. 14, 1886 - Mr. Stokes jumps off a wall in Fort Greene Park.

Dec. 9, 1886 - H.B. Leckler's dog Mace poses atop a chair in Fort Greene.

May 15, 1887 - Edith Poey jumps off a wooden pole onto the sand at Coney Island.

June 24, 1887 - Edgar J. Taylor jumps off a barrel.

July 24, 1888 - Maggie Ward stands on the end of a diving board at Coney Island.

1888 - Miss Brown holds a cob of maize for a squirrel to eat.

May 28, 1886 - J.M. Cornell jumps in the backyard at 314 Livingston Street.

c. 1890 - A woman swings on a rope at Coney Island.

June 1, 1891 - An elephant from the Barnes Circus walks down Atlantic Street in Brooklyn.

Sept. 8, 1897 - Gertrude Hubbell, Ruth Peters, and Mildred Grimwood play near the water at Arverne, Queens.

Sept. 8, 1897 - A woman swims at the beach.

Sept. 8, 1897 - A man in a barrel does a push up at the beach.

April 15, 1900 - Dr. Ernest Palmer and wife join hands to make a bar so that their dog can jump over it.

Aug. 26, 1904 - Acrobats perform a balancing act on the backs of a pair of horses as crowds watch at Coney Island's Dreamland.

(Photos: Wallace G. Levison/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images, via Mashable/Retronaut)

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