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Michael.Album.Page 03.01

Michael Tierney, NY Policeman, circa 1900 - 1905.


See repaired and color-corrected version of photo here.


This is a photo of Michael Tierney who was a policeman on the force in New York from 1885 - 1913.

It is still adhered to the page in a Chemical Sandwich of Doom. Since this is the only known photo of him and already has a tear on the side, I need to take extra precautions before removing this one.


From the type of photo I would guess that this shot was from the 1900 - 1913 time frame, but looking at uniform types in various photos at the archive led me to believe it may have been from the mid 1890s instead. But, read on.


I was also wondering why his photo is being taken on a rooftop and then remembered that I had found an article in the 1904 NY Evening Sun mentioning an arrest by an Officer Tierney and a rooftop. While there is no tangible way to connect the two at present, the article can be found here.


I then reached out to the research contact at the NY Police Museum and received a terrifically helpful reply:


"I can tell you with certainty that it was taken sometime after the spring of 1901. In 1901, patrolmen began to wear metal precinct number pins on their left collar, and this is visible on your great-grandfather’s summer uniform (starting in 1912, they began wearing numbers on both collars).


Also, by 1908, the hat that he is wearing was no longer in use as modern regulation-style shorter hats had replaced these.


My guess, based mainly on intuition and having seen many photos from this era, is that the picture was probably taken sometime between 1901 and 1905. But it is possible it is as late as 1907 or 1908."


That brings this rooftop photo back into the 1904 newspaper article time frame. Cool beans.


Last thing: when I scanned this at high resolution (see other versions in this set) I noticed that behind him are not some sort of roof vent as I had thought, but are two boater hats stacked on each other. From the photographer, etc? Hmm.


As an added bonus: Michael's NY Police Assignment card can be found here.


A few postings about him can be found at my Currach blog.

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Taken on October 19, 2010