Getting evicted in turn of the century New York

George Grantham Bain was an early news photographer who founded his own photojournalist service in 1898.

He left an incredible collection of more than 40,000 negatives, now housed in the Library of Congress and digitized.


His photos mostly span the late 19th century through the 00s and teens, and he had a special interest in New York City, chronicling news events as well as day-to-day life among the unheralded and unfamous.


These three photos appear to capture three different apartment evictions. The first is simply “Eviction.” The second is titled “East Side Eviciton.”


And the third has no title, but it’s categorized as an eviction by the Library of Congress. I wish we knew the circumstances and how these families fared.

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10 Responses to “Getting evicted in turn of the century New York”

  1. carolegill Says:

    So sad and that moment is captured forever.
    We do wonder what happened to them. Thank you for posting this.

  2. Pontifikate Says:

    “Deitsch” is the name of the grocer in one of the photos here. It was also the name of a supermarket in Queens, where I grew up. Wonder if that storefront was its humble beginnings.

    • carolegill Says:

      that’s interesting!
      it might have been. I live in UK but grew up in Washington Heights, NY. there was a food store there called Deitsches, not sure if it was spelled that way.

  3. punto50 Says:

    Are you thinking, maybe of the Daitch-Shopwell supermarket chain?

  4. Pontifikate Says:

    That could be it. Perhaps the spelling changed or maybe the supermarket had nothing to do with this storefront grocery.

  5. Jill Says:

    My mother tells a story of her father’s family (Bushwick/Williamsburg) moving constantly, trying to beat being evicted because they couldn’t pay rent. Once, they moved so suddenly that when Uncle Hy, the youngest of 7, came home from first grade, nobody was there, because they forgot about him. Eventually someone remembered and fund him; he grew up to be successful in costume jewelry manufacturing (ie mood rings). RIP Uncle Hy.

  6. mykola (mick) dementiuk Says:

    I never will forget an elderly woman being evicted on 5th Street & Avenue C, her bed, table, chairs and cabinets all in a row before her house. And strangely, the raucous kids on the street were quiet and subdued, they knew that it could be them as well, tossed out into the dirty street. How sadly horrible…

  7. Steph Says:

    Just thought your readers would be interested to know that the photo of the two men standing outside of Deitsch’s grocery store was located at 85 Willett St, off Delancey. (The buildings no longer exist.) City directories are a great source of info: has a good number of early 20th century Manhattan directories posted to their site, free for the looking.

    I’m a big fan of your site!

  8. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Thank you–and thanks for the link and info about Deitsch’s!

  9. Trump admin to unpaid federal workers who can't make rent: beg, barter, and get a lawyer. / Boing Boing Says:

    […] [IMAGE: Two men with children, being evicted, stand with their possessions on the sidewalk, circa 1910, on the Lower East Side of New York City. George Grantham Bain, BAIN NEWS SERVICE, via LOC. About] […]

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