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Carin Drechsler-Marx collection of Bowery photographs

Identifier: MG.032

Scope and Contents

The Carin Drechsler-Marx collection of Bowery photographs consists of 180 photographic prints documenting the years 1972-1983 on the Bowery, a Manhattan street that runs from Chatham Square in the south to Cooper Square in the north. The earliest images focus on homeless individuals and the institutions that served them, and she obtained permission to photograph aspects of shelter life and a flophouse. Realizing that the Bowery contained multitudes, Drechsler-Marx later began photographing other aspects of the street, which include images of stores, theaters, music clubs, and artists' homes.


  • Creation: 1972 - 1983


Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers without restriction.

Conditions Governing Use

Creator retains copyright. Permission to publish materials must be obtained in writing from The Cooper Union Archives and Special Collections. For more information, please email

Biographical / Historical

Carin Drechsler-Marx grew up in France and Germany and moved to the United States in 1960. In 1968 she moved with her husband, editor and critic Henry Marx, to an apartment on 12th Street and 4th Avenue, where she lived until 2023. During long walks in the neighborhood, she was shocked by the poverty in such a rich country, and "realized that the Bowery was a microcosm of the city at large." She began photographing street life, and obtained permission to photograph events and conditions in several shelters and one flophouse. One of the people she photographed, self-identified as "Big Jim," told her: "I am the loneliest person in the world. I am a 'bum.'"She also developed relationships with local artists and photographed them, their homes, and/or events they held. Her work has been shown at the Museum of the City of New York, Goethe House New York, Acadamy of Arts in Berlin, Galerie Rahmen Muller in Munich, and DiGiTouch Gallery in Berlin, among other locations.


180 Photographic Prints (180 prints in an 11x14 flat box)

Language of Materials



The Carin Drechsler-Marx collection of Bowery photographs includes images of homelessness and shelter life as well as a variety of stores, theaters, music clubs, and artists' homes, providing a broad picture of Bowery life between 1972 and 1983.


This collection has been arranged by the creator by subject.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was donated by Carin Drechsler-Marx in June 2023.

Mary Mann
July 2023
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Cooper Union Archives & Special Collections Repository

Cooper Union Library
7 East 7th Street
New York New York 10003 United States