New-York Historical Society

Author Archives: sue

Clarke and Rapuano, Landscape Architects

April — better known as the month of showers, Frederick Law Olmsted’s birthday, and Earth Day — has also been designated National Landscape Architect month.  Aside from Olmsted, however, landscape architects continue to fly largely under the radar.  A case in point:  Clarke and Rapuano, a firm with enormous impact on New York City’s urban [...]

The Tale of the Wandering Washington

Written by Joseph Ditta, Reference Librarian. In honor of Presidents’ Day, come with us back to 1889, when the celebrations marking the centennial of George Washington’s inauguration as first president of the United States were in full swing. Perhaps the most impressive manifestation of New York’s pride of place as the location for that memorable [...]

Mr. Mitchell’s Muscular Map

Post written by Eric Robinson It’s hard to believe, but a document with the imperious title A Map of the British and French Dominions in North America was the cartographic basis for our American republic. John Mitchell’s 1755 masterpiece provided the lens with which the founding generation negotiated independence and plotted westward settlement. Needless to [...]

Currier & Currier & Ives? a tribute to Charles Currier

To most people, Currier & Ives are locked together like love and marriage (in the song, at least) — as Frank Sinatra sings, “you can’t have one, you can’t have none, you can’t have one without the other.” In fact, though, Nathaniel Currier was a successful lithographer long before James Merritt Ives joined the business [...]

Blueprints, Then and Now

Written by Geraldine Granahan, Preservation Assistant for the McKim, Mead & White Architectural Record Collection. Recently the staff of the library and conservation department spent a fun afternoon in our conservation laboratory attending a workshop on the process of making cyanotypes, or as they are more commonly known — blueprints (so called because they contain [...]

Friggatriskaidekaphobes Need Not Apply

Written by Joseph Ditta, Reference Librarian Thirteenth Annual Report of the Thirteen Club, 1895 (cover) Happy Friday the Thirteenth! Are you cowering under the covers, hoping to escape the horrible tragedies that are doomed to hit you should you set foot out of bed? If you answered yes, we are sorry to say your friggatriskaidekaphobia [...]

Carriers’ Addresses: The Holiday Gratuity, With a Little Flair

Written by Mariam Touba, Reference Librarian It still happens at this time of year, a holiday greeting is slipped under the door from a service provider offering good wishes and a subtle hint to be remembered with an end-of-the-year gratuity.  The practice is an old one, but was, in the 18th and 19th centuries, carried [...]

Selling for a song

Peace on earth and good will to men may be in short supply, but there is no time like Christmas to appreciate that nowadays advertising is everywhere.  Billboards, newspapers, magazines, television, the Internet, cell phones . . . advertisers will try any means available to get consumers to buy their products.  So it’s hardly surprising [...]

African Americans and the World of Tomorrow

Post written by Kenneth Cleary, a summer intern at N-YHS who processed the Paul Gillespie Collection of New York World’s Fair Materials. A rich collection of photographs from the 1939-40 New York World’s Fair is newly available to researchers at the N-YHS library. Donated to N-YHS in May of this year, the Paul Gillespie Collection [...]

Prohibition’s Prelude

As viewers of Ken Burns Prohibition documentary this week will know, there was a year-long lag between the date the 18th Amendment was ratified (January 16, 1919) and the date it went into effect (January 17, 1920).  This gave Tin Pan Alley plenty of time to ponder questions like:  Bella Landauer Collection of Business and [...]

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