C.B.J. Snyder Schools, a set on Flickr.
From 1891 until his retirement in 1923, Charles B.J. (C.B.J.) Snyder served as the Superintendent of School Buildings for New York City’s Board of Education. During his tenure, Snyder designed and oversaw the construction of and additions to over 400 public schools throughout New York City. Inspired by the social reform movements of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, he incorporated elements from a variety of architectural styles, including Beaux-Arts, Flemish Renaissance, Italian Palazzo, and Collegiate Gothic.
Snyder’s schools are notable for their grand architectural designs and innovative features. He implemented physical and material changes that focused on the health and safety of students, creating standards for school furniture, adequate light and air, safe construction materials, and indoor plumbing.
Beyond merely classrooms, Snyder’s schools often included laboratories, gymnasiums, swimming pools, and auditoriums that could be used by the surrounding community, as well as public art. Though not all continue to function as public schools, 20 C.B.J. Snyder buildings have been designated New York City Landmarks as of May 2014.
The Art Commission reviewed over 200 C.B.J. Snyder schools between 1902 and 1922. The renderings, architectural drawings, and photographs in this set are examples of these submissions.
This photo album was digitized and prepared by archives intern Alexandra Giffen, a graduate student in the Archives and Public History program in the New York University Graduate School of Arts and Science.
For research inquiries, please visit the Design Commission’s website and submit a Research Request form.