Angelo Rizzuto

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Angelo A. Rizzuto (born Deadwood, South Dakota, 1906; died New York City, 1967) was an American photographer who worked in Manhattan from 1952 until his death. His street photography opus of 60,000 images lay in file cabinets unviewed until 2001.

Little is known of Rizzuto's life. He grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, and graduated from Wittenberg College in Ohio in 1931. He attended Harvard Law School in mid-1930s. His father had a successful construction business, but when the father died Rizzuto and his brothers fought over the estate, which drove Rizzuto to a suicide attempt. After drifting around the country and working odd jobs, he settled in Manhattan.

For many years he was psychiatrically unfit, variously tormented by the belief that he was the victim of a global conspiracy of communists, perverts and Jews.

Every day at 2 p.m. between May 1952 and June 1964, Rizzuto would venture out with a camera to record images for what was to be a vast encyclopedic kaleidoscope of Manhattan, a book to be called Little Old New York.

Rizzuto photographed New York's inhabitants and ended every roll of film with a portrait of himself. His images include cityscapes, compassionate photographs of children and confrontational pictures of angry women, along with anguished self-portraits.

Before he died, knowing that he would not live to see his intention realized, Rizzuto bequeathed 60,000 photographs and $50,000 to the Library of Congress, where they languished until photo historian Michael Lesy discovered and compiled them into book form entitled Angel’s World: The New York Photographs of Angelo Rizzuto.

Except for Lesy's book, Rizzuto's work is largely unknown. His collection of 60,000 images in the Library of Congress is still unprocessed by library staff and is not available online.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Michael Lesy and Angelo Rizzuto, Angel's World: The New York Photographs of Angelo Rizzuto (W.W. Norton 2005)


  • Library of Congress Reference to Rizzuto Catalogue: Call Number: Unprocessed in PR 13 CN 1969:274 [P&P]


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