About Photographs from the Frederick Fried Coney Island collection

This collection contains photographic material from the Frederick Fried Coney Island collection, 1847-2001 housed at the Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University. The photographs depict the rich public life and popular culture of Coney Island from the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century, illustrating amusement rides; buildings and structures; parades, contests, and performances; the boardwalk; transportation; and people, both visitors to and employees of Coney Island's various attractions, amusements, and spectacles.

A significant portion of this collection consists of the personal archive of William F. Mangels (1867-1958), which was purchased by Fried in 1955. Mangels was a German immigrant entrepreneur, designer, and inventor who was a major figure in the development of the American amusement park. Located at Coney Island and incorporated in 1908, the W.F. Mangels Company was a prominent manufacturer of carousels and other amusement rides, including the Whip and the Tickler. Also a historian of the amusements industry and collector, Mangels founded the American Museum of Public Recreation (1929-1955) at West Eighth Street and Neptune Avenue at Coney Island. This digital collection has numerous photographs of scale models of designs for amusements across the country by William F. Mangels, photographs of his installations at the American Museum of Public Recreation, and portraits of Mangels and his business partners.

This collection is also strong in chronicling the heyday of Coney Island's three main amusement parks--Dreamland (1904-1911), Luna Park (1903-1944), and Steeplechase Park (1897-1964)--from 1903 to 1911. Subjects include carousels, carousel animals, demolition and fires, employees and visitors, mechanical rides, roller coasters, and recreation. There are also many photographs of the "Nickel Empire" era, circa 1920-1933, including visuals of baths and pools, beaches, restaurants and hotels, and rides.

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