Frank Oscar Larson
Frank Oscar Larson was born in Greenpoint, Brooklyn in 1896, the son of Swedish immigrants who moved to New York in early 1890's. At the turn of the century Greenpoint and the surrounding area was home to a sizable Swedish population , most of them recent arrivals who worked in the factories of what was then a heavily manufacturing area. Frank's father John Larson was a foreman at Hecla Iron Works in Williamsburg, one of the nation's premier manufacturers of decorative wrought iron gates and installations.
After serving in World War I as an artillery man and then completing his college education, Frank took a job with Empire Trust Company in Manhattan, where he worked his way up the company ladder to become an auditor for the bank. He worked there until he retired in the late 1950's.
In the early 1920's, Frank married Eleanora Friberg, also a first-generation Swedish immigrant. Eleanora's father, John Friberg, also worked at Hecla Iron Works as a pattern maker. It is likely it was though their fathers' job that Frank and Eleanora met.
After their marriage, Frank and Eleanora moved to a modest house on Oak Avenue in the Flushing section of Queens, where they lived for about 40 years, raising two boys, Franklin and David. When Frank retired in 1960, he and Eleanora moved to Lakeville, Connecticut.
On a visit to New York City in 1964 to see the World's Fair, Frank suffered a stroke and died days later. During his service in the Army in France in World War I, he had inhaled mustard gas and permanently damaged his lungs, causing his health to deteriorate in his later years.
Frank had a number of hobbies which provided for him a creative outlet and a much needed relief from his 9 to 5 banking job. He played the violin, carved wooden sculptures and was an avid photographer. Photographs dating back to the 1920's attest to the fact that he was always the family shutterbug, But it was in the early 1950's that Frank's passion for photography blossomed. By 1949 both of his sons had left home, and perhaps this new situation, no longer having kids at home freed him up on the weekends to delve into photography with a passion.
For the next 16 years he took thousands of photographs, mostly with a medium-format Rolleiflex camera. On weekends in the early 1950's he would leave home early in the morning on photographic expeditions to exotic places like the Bowery, Chinatown or Times Square, or to less exotic places like Central Park, the Cloisters or nearby Kissena Park.
His vacations with Eleanora to Maine, New Hampshire and Florida also provided new and interesting subjects for the lens.
Frank developed and printed all his photos in a darkroom in his basement, and entered some of them in local amateur photographic competitions where he won some awards for his work.