Movers and Shakers
June 24, 2011

This phrase describes many illustrious individuals documented in N-YHS’s collections — but perhaps none so literally as John Y. Culyer, who in 1867 designed a machine for moving sizeable trees to more suitable positions during the construction of Prospect Park. Tree Moving Machine, Prospect Park (Geographic File, PR020) Culyer began his career as a landscape…

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A costly fashion… literally.
June 17, 2011

Sir Henry Clinton’s hair powder duty certificate, 1795 (Donald F. Clark Collection, MS 118) This 1795 certificate documents that Sir Henry Clinton, the general and former Commander-in-Chief for North America of the British Army during the Revolution, paid the hair powder duty instituted in Great Britain in that year. The duty itself was one guinea,…

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A Piece of High Line History
June 10, 2011

With the opening of the next section of the High Line this week we are reminded of the incredible transformation of the High Line from an abandoned relic of 20th Century transportation history to a restorative piece of the urban landscape. There are many sidebars to the story, but perhaps one of the more ironic…

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Library Closing For the Summer
June 3, 2011

Yes, sometimes even the best spaces need a little sprucing up! Please note that our library is officially closed for the summer for renovation and will re-open to the public on Saturday, September 10th. Until then, continue to follow the library collections on our blog. Library floor looking north from balcony, showing Librarian Alexander J….

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End of the World As We Know It
May 27, 2011

After much publicity and anticipation, a predicted rapture in which believers were supposed to ascend into heaven with the coming of Jesus did not materialize. Instead, the preacher and his followers insisted that they had miscalculated and that the real end of world would instead happen that October. Sound familiar? This predicted end of the…

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The “Golden Age of Bicycling” Account Book
May 20, 2011

If you haven’t already heard, May is bike month so it’s the perfect time to talk about an interesting 1898-1899 account book that we have here at the Society. Cyclists during the Golden Age of the bicycle outside Grant’s Tomb on Riverside Drive, 1898. Subject File (PR 068) The safety bicycle — the design of…

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William H. Paine: assistant engineer of the Brooklyn Bridge
May 13, 2011

May 24th marks the 128th anniversary of the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge. While the name John Augustus Roebling is widely associated with the bridge’s design and production, the contributions of the six other men involved in the bridge’s engineering is rarely acknowledged in popular history. Paine (believed to be second from right), pictured on…

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Happy Mother’s Day!
May 6, 2011

To celebrate Mother’s Day, here is one of my personal favorites from the Bella Landauer Collection of Business and Advertising Ephemera: A delightful departure from the sentimental view of motherhood most often associated with the Victorian era, this advertisement features a mother reclining on a chaise lounge and sipping a Pabst Malt Extract — “The…

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Paul Gillespie’s 1939 New York World’s Fair Collection
April 29, 2011

Just in time for the 72nd anniversary of New York’s 1939 World’s Fair — which opened on April 30th, 1939 — the New-York Historical Society has received an extensive collection of photographs and other memorabilia documenting this momentous event. President Roosevelt’s official dedication at the Fair’s opening ceremonies. Although Paul Gillespie was only 12 years…

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