New-York Historical Society

Author Archives: sue

Death Warrant signed by George Washington

This post was written by N-YHS intern Catherine Newton While working with the Oversize Manuscripts Collection this summer, my coworker and I uncovered a death warrant signed by George Washington and dated October 25, 1778. Best known for his role as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army and later as the first president of the United [...]

The cure for nostalgia: nineteenth-century coroner’s reports

This post was written by N-YHS intern Audrey Belanger If you, like me, occasionally suffer from bouts of longing for life in the 19th century (Carriages! Balls! Needlepoint!), there is no better cure than perusing 19th century death records in the N-YHS manuscript collection.  Not only were sicknesses such as consumption, dropsy, smallpox, and hives [...]

Old Ironsides Earns Her Nickname: The USS Constitution versus HMS Guerriere

Post written by Mariam Touba, Reference Librarian The logbook’s entry for the morning, 200 years ago, of August 19, 1812 records hazy weather, temperature 64° in the air and a similar 65° in water. By “3/4 past 11 am” the weather is cloudy with fresh breezes, so the mizzen topsail is set. And then it [...]

Croquet, an Olympic Sport?

It was in 1900, for the first and only time.   The 1900 Olympics, held in Paris, were also the first which allowed women to compete (an Olympic tradition which has, happily, had a longer track record than croquet).  According to Olympic games historian Bill Mallon, two women competed (with other men) in a croquet [...]

Who really created the Teddy (Roosevelt) Bear?

Brooklyn is justly known as the borough of churches and the rightful home of the Dodgers — but did it also give birth to the Teddy Bear? Credit for inventing the teddy bear is generally given to Morris Michtom, a Russian immigrant who is said to have opened a candy store at 404 Tompkins Avenue [...]

Davy Crockett Almanacs

This post was written by cataloger Catherine Falzone. As my colleagues and I work to catalog the thousands of almanacs held by N-YHS, thanks to a Hidden Collections Program grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), we have come across some unusual items that bear a closer look. Some of my favorite [...]

The Serious Side of Drinking: Political Toasts

Tippling is mainly a recreational sport today, but beer was an important source of nutrition in colonial New York.  And alcohol also played a role in early American politics, through the time-honored ritual of drinking toasts. In 18th century America, nearly every public occasion ended with a score of ceremonial drinks and toasts. Verbatim transcripts [...]

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 [...]

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