Woman of Letters: Charlotte Lennox and The Life of Harriot Stuart
January 21, 2015

Written by Maureen Maryanski, Reference Librarian for Printed Collections. Among the uncatalogued treasures at the New-York Historical Society are two small, leather bound volumes I recently stumbled upon in the library stacks. Out of pure curiosity, I picked these volumes up and looked at the title page. The title read: The Life of Harriot Stuart,…

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A Pictorial Record of New York’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial March, April 5, 1968
January 15, 2015

Margot Gayle is synonymous with historic preservation. A leading figure in the movement which found its voice following the tragic loss of Pennsylvania Station in 1963, Gayle played a seminal role in the creation of New York’s Landmark Preservation Law two years later. For sixteen years she penned an architecture column in the Daily News while  helping to found the Victorian…

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Vintage advertising calendars
January 7, 2015

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…

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From “Splendid” to “Usurper”: The fickle story of the Ailanthus tree
December 31, 2014

Historians are accustomed to constructing human history through surviving texts, architecture, and images but the living world  can help us understand our past in its own unique way. A particularly good example of this is the Tree of Heaven, or Ailanthus altissima. Although now widely regarded as a weed, at one time it was a heralded exotic plant. Most will also…

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“The Peace of Christmas Eve”: Ending the War of 1812
December 23, 2014

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…

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Requesting the pleasure of your company: Artists’ receptions and the Tenth Street Studio Building’s legacy
December 17, 2014

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,…

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MGs, Fords, Bugattis, Austins, Willys and Maserati: Early Photos of American Car Racing
December 10, 2014

This post was written by Alison Barr, Manuscript Department volunteer With the advent and popularity of NASCAR in America, long forgotten is New York’s road racing circuit in the tradition of the European Grand Prix. Between the two wars, in 1934, the Collier Brothers (Barron, Samuel and Miles) and Thomas Dewart founded The Automobile Racing…

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The First Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center
December 3, 2014

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…

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Gobbling Up Thanksgiving in New York!
November 26, 2014

This post was written by Tammy Kiter, Manuscript Reference Librarian. This time of year has become synonymous with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  As we revel in the excitement of watching our favorite characters float larger than life down Central Park West, let’s celebrate three of the key ingredients for a fantastic holiday in the…

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