Jeffrey Richman graduated from NYU Law School in the 1970s and started working with criminal defendants for the next 33 years, both at the trial and the appellate level. He loved the challenge and helping those who were underrepresented and poor.
While working in law, he started to collect stereoscopic cards from the 1800s. Though many were available, he concentrated on images of New York. There were so many stereoscopic views of New York City in the second half of the 19th century–hundreds were taken of just the omnibuses, carts, and pedestrians along Broadway in Manhattan, but he kept coming across some marked Green-Wood cemetery. They became a focus of his collection.
In 1987, he saw an ad for a photo tour of Green-Wood, which limited photography on the grounds without permission at that time. That tour changed Mr. Richman’s life. The tour brought together his many interests like 19th century photography, taking photographs, cemeteries, sculpture, and landscape design. He returned to the cemetery and was able to get a courtesy pass with photography allowed and he knew something had changed for him.
In 1990, he decided to become a tour guide as well as keeping his day job. He set up his own schedules and did his own publicity as Green-Wood did not have tours. He began to write a book on the cemetery and it was published by Green-Wood in 1997. In 2007 he became the cemetery historian, the second in Green-Wood cemetery’s 150+ year history. He left the law practice.