New-York Historical Society

Author Archives: sue

Earth Day Photos Reveal the Dirt on NYC

Now that every inch of Manhattan is covered with buildings or fabricated parks, it’s hard to imagine the city was once just another patch of earth. To celebrate Earth Day, here are photographs that reveal some dirt on New York City’s past. The first one shows the land currently occupied by the New-York Historical Society. […]

Now He Belongs to the Ages: 150 years after Lincoln’s Assasination

Today marks the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. As is fitting for our most eloquent president, Lincoln’s death, and life, have inspired a torrent of writing. The memorializing began at the moment of Lincoln’s death, when his friend and Secretary of State, Edward Stanton, famously said, “Now he belongs to the ages” (or, as […]

Celebrating Women’s History: Rebecca Lepkoff

To celebrate Women’s History Month, here are some images by pioneering street photographer Rebecca Lepkoff.   A quintessential New Yorker, Lepkoff gained international acclaim for her iconic images of the Lower East Side. She was born on August 4, 1916, in a Hester Street tenement. Like the majority of families living in the neighborhood at […]

“Little Ethiopians:” 19th Century Photography of African Americans

To kick off Black History Month, here is a cabinet card that has fascinated me ever since I stumbled across it in our Portrait File. Titled “Little Ethiopians,” it’s a composite of 21 portraits of African-American babies. The cabinet card was issued by Smith’s Studio of Photography in Chicago, Illinois, and bears an 1881 copyright […]

Vintage advertising calendars

The beginning of a new year seems like the perfect time to explore our collection of vintage calendars. It’s hard to imagine in this age of email marketing and television commercials, but calendars were once among the most effective means of advertising.  Unlike advertisements in newspapers or magazines, which were likely to be discarded right […]

Yellow Fever: the Ebola of earlier centuries

The current Ebola crisis is by no means the first time a viral  haemorrhagic fever (“VHF”) has terrorized the inhabitants of America.  Throughout the 18th century and into the 19th, epidemics of another VHF — yellow fever — spread fear and panic across the United States.  N-YHS is fortunate to hold a number of rare […]

Climate and Protest: The Letters of Reverend James MacSparran

We hadn’t even started changing the climate, and Wall Street could only be understood in a literal sense, but the title page of a tract published in 1753 captures the spirit of this week’s protests perfectly, viz: America Dissected, being a Full and True Account of all the Colonies, showing the Intemperance of the Climates; […]

In honor of Labor Day: a photographic tribute to New Yorkers at work

While historians still debate who first proposed a labor day holiday, there is no question as to where the first Labor Day celebration took place. Like most other important events, it happened right here in New York City. On September 5, 1882, a parade organized by the city’s Central Labor Union marched up Broadway, past […]

Street Trades: The Photography of Marcus Reidenberg

“The ballet of the good city sidewalk never repeats itself from place to place, and in any one place is always replete with new improvisations.” Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities. From poet Walt Whitman to activist Jane Jacobs to fashion photographer Bill Cunningham, New Yorkers have celebrated their streets as […]

Spring Fashion, circa 1890’s

“Fashion is unfolding, just like nature,” reads the caption for a recent On the Street column by famed New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham (whose work is currently on exhibit at N-YHS).  Now that spring has finally arrived, we decided to take a look at seasonal fashion in New York over a hundred years ago. […]

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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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