New-York Historical Society

Category Archives: Collections

“The Peace of Christmas Eve”: Ending the War of 1812

This post was written by Mariam Touba, Reference Librarian for Printed Collections It is the time of  year when people talk most of “Peace on Earth.”  A bit of peace of the worldly sort emerged 200 years ago this week when the United States and Great Britain came to terms ending the two and a […]

Requesting the pleasure of your company: Artists’ receptions and the Tenth Street Studio Building’s legacy

This post is written by Joe Festa, Manuscript Reference Librarian Unlike today’s art market, American artists of the early 19th century had few galleries to represent them. While many art dealers were setting up shop in Manhattan’s wealthier areas, their focus was on representing elite European artists and serving the privileged social classes. As such, […]

The First Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center

This post was written by Marybeth Kavanagh, Reference Librarian for the Department of Prints, Photographs and Architectural Collections. Tonight, thousands of people will gather to celebrate the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, a spectacle that’s been a holiday tradition in New York City for over 70 years. Though the first official ceremony was held […]

The Last Hours of World War I

This post was created by intern Alison Dundy. Imagine hearing the war is over, but a time lag in communications means men are still laying on their bellies in trenches while shells whizz overhead and explode around them. Elsewhere in the world, champagne corks are popping and glasses are raised in toasts to peace. Will […]

Who Coined the Phrase ‘United States of America’? You May Never Guess

This post was written by Mariam Touba, Reference Librarian for Printed Collections Take a look.  Dated January 2, 1776,  many months earlier than once thought, this, quite likely, is the first time the name “United States of America” was ever written, or possibly even expressed. People have indeed tossed around the question, “Who named this […]

How to Have a Jolly Halloween

This post was written by Marybeth Kavanagh, Reference Librarian for the Department of Prints, Photographs and Architectural Collections. Looking for inspiration to get into the spirit of the season, I found a small, sweet  volume in our Printed Collections called Games For Halloween. In less than 60 pages, author Mary E. Blain lays out a plan that Martha Stewart […]

What is the Oldest Book in the N-YHS Library?

Written by Maureen Maryanski, Reference Librarian for Printed Collections. A reasonable assumption would be that the oldest materials in the New-York Historical Society Library relate to Colonial North America or New York. However, in terms of the book collection, the oldest item actually predates the first North American colonies by over a hundred years. Amongst […]

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 […]

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: […]

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 […]

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