NEW YORK CITY.
FAIRCHILD AERIAL CAMERA CORPORATION. Aerial Survey Manhattan Island, New York City ... This Mosaic was made by assembling 100 Aerial Photographs taken while flying over the area at an altitude of 10,000 feet.
Aerial panorama of Manhattan, 6 gelatin silver prints joined, each 22 x 17 inches, August, 1921, tipped into a gilt-lettered suede presentation folder, dampstain affecting folder with bleed-through to corners on 4 photos and affecting image on first photo, some variation in tone and oxidation near joins.
Provenance: Murray Hulbert [1881-1950] (presentation stamp to folder).
EXTREMELY RARE MANHATTAN PANORAMA, PRESENTED TO THE ACTING MAYOR OF THE CITY. Murray Hulbert served as mayor of New York during the long illness of Mayor Hylan. The stamp on the folder reads: "First Copy Aerial Survey Manhattan Island / Presented to Murray Hulbert, Acting Mayor...."
Fairchild expanded on aerial photography techniques used for reconnaissance during WWI. "Toward the end of the war Sherman M. Fairchild developed a camera with the shutter located inside the lens. This design significantly reduced the distortion problem. In addition, the camera's magazine would prevent uneven spacing. Fairchild also designed an intervalometer that allowed photos to be taken at any interval. Combined these developments made the Fairchild camera the best aerial camera system available. With modifications, the Fairchild camera remained the desired aerial camera system for the next fifty years" (Baumann, "History of Remote Sensing, Aerial Photography," 2001, online article, SUNY Oneonta).
The present map of Manhattan was his first major peacetime project, and indeed one of the first non-military photographic surveys. It was a commercial success and Fairchild was commissioned to survey other cities, but very few copies of the Manhattan panorama survive.