New-York Historical Society

Author Archives: staff

“Look at them constantly with all your might”: the art education of Edwin Howland Blashfield

This post is written by Joe Festa, Manuscript Reference Librarian. Mural artist Edwin Howland Blashfield, born in Brooklyn in 1848, is perhaps best known for adorning the dome of the Library of Congress Main Reading Room in Washington, DC. His work can be characterized by his formal European apprenticeship in the classical arts, which greatly [...]

It’s electrifying! Medical uses of electricity

This blog was written by Alice Browne Nowadays we are more likely to associate electricity with execution than with healing.  But in nineteenth-century New York, sellers of electric belts and proprietors of electric baths promised relief from many diseases, especially those that were chronic, embarrassing, or neglected by conventional medicine. Both claimed to relieve symptoms [...]

“The Star-Spangled Banner” Watched O’er the Ramparts of Fort McHenry

This post was written by Mariam Touba, Reference Librarian for Printed Collections  Frank Key, as his friends knew him, had little use for this war, particularly as he viewed the War of 1812 as an aggressive one directed at Canada.   The Georgetown lawyer’s patriotism kicked in, however, with the threat of the British invading the [...]

New Amsterdam Becomes New York, and Peter Stuyvesant Gets Over It: It’s Been 350 Years

This post was written by Mariam Touba, Reference Librarian for Printed Collections It was once an occasion worth marking—when, on September 8, 1664, the English took the city.  The bicentennial of the event was toasted with an elaborate New-York Historical Society dinner at the Cooper Institute, a welcome way to set aside the strains of [...]

“Lamenting the Disgrace of the City”: The 1814 Burning of Washington, D.C.

This post was written by Mariam Touba, Reference Librarian for Printed Collections. “Our preparation for defence by some means or other, is constantly retarded but the small force the British have on the Bay will never venture nearer than at present 23 miles,” First Lady Dolley Madison wrote to her friend in her letter of [...]

Love and Other Dishes: Harvey Rosen’s El Borracho

This blog post was written by Megan Dolan, intern in the Archives Department at N-YHS Throughout the 1920’s, prohibition-induced underground speakeasy clubs were major social destinations for dining, drinking, dancing, and listening to live music, generally jazz.  But with the end of the prohibition era, the speakeasy gave way to a new type of establishment: [...]

Damn the torpedoes! The Battle of Mobile Bay

This post was written by Alice Browne, Ebsco Project cataloger. The Battle of Mobile Bay, fought on August 5, 1864, led to Union control of one of the last significant Gulf ports remaining in Confederate hands. The New-York Historical Society holds letters and papers from several participants in the battle. It was widely anticipated, and [...]

Digitization 101

This post was written by library intern Jacob Laurenti The digitization of collections is a controversial issue at museums and libraries.  It can be both expensive and time-consuming, and some argue that the quality and detail of artwork is lost in the digitization process.  But there are also obvious benefits to scanning photographs, manuscripts and [...]

“I wish to be honorable & right in my dealings all round” — Letters from Louisa May Alcott to James Redpath

This post was written by Miranda Schwartz, cataloging technician. The New-York Historical Society Library has a collection of eighteen letters by Louisa May Alcott, best known as the author of the 1868 novel Little Women, a classic of American children’s literature. The Alcott letters are in the American Historical Manuscripts Collection, a trove of 12,000 small [...]

Ken Regan’s Celebrity Portraiture: Paul Mazursky Comes Home

This post was written by N-YHS intern Brynn White Numerous tributes to actor and filmmaker Paul Mazursky have unspooled since his passing on Tuesday, July 1. In films such as Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice (1969) and An Unmarried Woman (1978),  the Brooklyn native investigated middle class values, hypocrisy, and personal growth during a time in American [...]

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This is a blog created by staff members in the library to draw attention to the richness and diversity of our collections.

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