Once upon a time there was a young boy (see photo at the left) by the name of H.A. Dunne, who lived in New York City. He started out life doing some acting, including stints on the shows “Mr. Wizard” and “I Remember Mamma.” Some where along the line that went by the wayside, he grew up, went to work for the Dept. of Transportation in New York City, a city he loved.
That obsession for the “city that never sleeps,” turned him into a big collector of all things Gotham. Though mostly he collected old glass plate negatives, thousands of them of vintage New York City. He had two buddies that were doing the same thing too, one focused on Brooklyn, the other on Queens. H.A. Dunne was the Manhattan guy.
The funny thing is, Dunne never took one photograph, just collected the negatives of those who did. Over time he had amassed thousands of images of everyday life in Manhattan from 1800 to 1950.
Dunne passed on a few years back and his daughter inherited all of this New York City Nostalgia. So what do you do with all of this? Well, Susie Dunne and her husband Jeffrey Berg decided to open up a store and call it The Archives. That name didn’t work so they changed it to H.A. Dunne to honor her Dad, the guy whose collections are being printed up for the world to see. Decorators, and film makers and you name it are combing thru the photos for all kinds of reasons.
In those negatives is perhaps one of the only real records left of the building of The World Trade Center. There are about 3,000 negatives from the start to the finish of the construction of the Twin Towers. A steel company involved in the construction commissioned a young photographer by the name of Mal Gurian who took the photos from the air from the ground, from other buildings, from every angle, from everywhere.
Gurian would go on to become a pioneer of the wireless industry, that in itself is a huge success story. Anyway, it turned out that after he shot all the photos, the company didn’t want the negatives, they just wanted prints made, which went up all over The World Trade Center, and were lost on September 11, 2001.
In 2000, Susie’s Dad just happened to buy those negatives from one of his two collecting buddies who had ended up with them.
So what could be one of the only accounts left of the building of this iconic place, The World Trade Center, now sits in the Northville section of New Milford, Connecticut in the store Susie and Jeffrey built, called H.A. Dunne. Can you say documentary?