New-York Historical Society

Category Archives: General

How to Have a Jolly, Merry 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 […]

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 […]

Climate and Protest: The Letters of Reverend James MacSparran

We hadn’t even started changing the climate, and Wall Street could only be understood in a literal sense, but the title page of a tract published in 1753 captures the spirit of this week’s protests perfectly, viz: America Dissected, being a Full and True Account of all the Colonies, showing the Intemperance of the Climates; […]

The Half Moon Club

Few people are aware that the Half Moon Club even existed and this probably wouldn’t have bothered its members very much. Although it wasn’t a secret society, its surviving club “log” suggests that it was on par with other leading Progressive Era social organizations — elite, sophisticated and enormously selective. Beginning in 1906, the Half […]

“The Star-Spangled Banner” Watched O’er the Ramparts of Fort McHenry

This post was written by Mariam Touba, Reference Librarian for Printed Collections  Frank Key, as his friends knew him, had little use for this war, particularly as he viewed the War of 1812 as an aggressive one directed at Canada.   The Georgetown lawyer’s patriotism kicked in, however, with the threat of the British invading the […]

New Amsterdam Becomes New York, and Peter Stuyvesant Gets Over It: It’s Been 350 Years

This post was written by Mariam Touba, Reference Librarian for Printed Collections It was once an occasion worth marking—when, on September 8, 1664, the English took the city.  The bicentennial of the event was toasted with an elaborate New-York Historical Society dinner at the Cooper Institute, a welcome way to set aside the strains of […]

In honor of Labor Day: a photographic tribute to New Yorkers at work

While historians still debate who first proposed a labor day holiday, there is no question as to where the first Labor Day celebration took place. Like most other important events, it happened right here in New York City. On September 5, 1882, a parade organized by the city’s Central Labor Union marched up Broadway, past […]

“Lamenting the Disgrace of the City”: The 1814 Burning of Washington, D.C.

This post was written by Mariam Touba, Reference Librarian for Printed Collections. “Our preparation for defence by some means or other, is constantly retarded but the small force the British have on the Bay will never venture nearer than at present 23 miles,” First Lady Dolley Madison wrote to her friend in her letter of […]

About

This is a blog created by staff members in the library to draw attention to the richness and diversity of our collections.

Subscribe

Support n-yhs

Help us present groundbreaking exhibitions and develop educational programs about our nation's history for more than 200,000 schoolchildren annually.