New-York Historical Society

Category Archives: Ephemera

It’s electrifying! Medical uses of electricity

This blog was written by Alice Browne Nowadays we are more likely to associate electricity with execution than with healing.  But in nineteenth-century New York, sellers of electric belts and proprietors of electric baths promised relief from many diseases, especially those that were chronic, embarrassing, or neglected by conventional medicine. Both claimed to relieve symptoms [...]

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: [...]

Happy Passover and Easter!

To celebrate the holidays, here are a few lighthearted Easter and Passover images that can hardly help but make you happy, regardless of religion.                      

‘It’s a Small World’ of Tomorrow: Remembering The 1964-65 New York World’s Fair

This post was written by Mariam Touba, Reference Librarian for Printed Collections It was a financial failure and—being unsanctioned—not even a real “world’s fair.”  It stands as little more than yet one more piece of Baby Boomer nostalgia.  But, in fairness, the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair that opened 50 years ago this month was [...]

“Feelin’ Tomorrow Lak Ah Feel Today”: W.C. Handy, the St. Louis Blues, and Marion Harris

Written by Maureen Maryanski, Reference Librarian for Printed Collections. An often overlooked source of historical and cultural memory is the ephemeral format of sheet music. The New-York Historical Society houses an extensive sheet music collection numbering close to 15,000. Many of these are from the 19th century, but a significant subsection contains popular songs from [...]

“An abomination in the eyes of sportsmen”: The early days of professional football

On April 4, 1865, New Yorker James F. Maury wrote in his diary “Very fine day. I celebrated the capture of Richmond by breaking my leg while playing football.” Although the injury will not be new to today’s football fan, the game played that day might not have been quite as familiar. In 1865, football [...]

The X-Rays of Melville E. Stone, Jr.

Scrapbooks are unpredictable. Each page turn may reveal some obscure, interesting piece of ephemera, photograph or letter. But it’s still a bit surprising to unearth x-rays of a man’s head and chest as we found in one of  two enormous scrapbooks of Melville E. Stone Jr. Born in Chicago in 1874, Stone was an 1897 graduate of Harvard [...]

Beware of Things that go Blog in the Night

This post is by Tammy Kiter, Manuscript Reference Librarian Halloween’s origins can be traced back to the Celtic festival known as Samhain (pronounced “sow-in”). The Celts’ New Year was November 1st. They believed that on the night before the New Year, boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped and that ghosts [...]

The Wilderness Cure

This post was written by Kate Burch, Library Page. “…To a man whose life is chiefly within four brick walls, and whose every breath takes up some part of the street and its filth, whose daily work is such that his body and health are a daily sacrifice to the necessities of sedentary life,- to [...]

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!

This post was written by Tammy Kiter, Manuscript Reference Librarian Who among us doesn’t enjoy a cold, creamy treat on a hot summer day? In honor of July being National Ice Cream month, I thought we’d take a little trip down creamery lane to celebrate ice cream in all its delicious glory. It is estimated [...]

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