New-York Historical Society

Category Archives: General

Celebrating Women’s History: Rebecca Lepkoff

To celebrate Women’s History Month, here are some images by pioneering street photographer Rebecca Lepkoff.   A quintessential New Yorker, Lepkoff gained international acclaim for her iconic images of the Lower East Side. She was born on August 4, 1916, in a Hester Street tenement. Like the majority of families living in the neighborhood at […]

“The unadulterated Irish language”: Irish Speakers in Nineteenth Century New York

The June 13, 1857, issue of Harper’s Weekly ran this short anecdote under “Things and Otherwise”: A woman a short time since appeared at the lower police court in New York city, and, going up to the judge, addressed him, as nearly as our reporter could understand, as follows:“R-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r!” The judge at once called the interpreter of the court. “Here, F—, […]

Cass Gilbert & the Brooklyn Waterfront

This post is by Nina Nazionale, Director of Library Operations The architectural profile of the Brooklyn waterfront, especially in Greenpoint and Williamsburg, has changed radically in the last ten years. Amidst the new, high-rise towers, stands a massive, stately low-rise. Originally known as the Austin, Nichols & Co., Inc. warehouse and now a luxury apartment […]

“Seven Moments of Love”—from Langston Hughes to Robert Earl Jones

This post was written by Luis Rodriguez, Library Collections Technician. Imagine a moment in Harlem in 1939. It’s inside the Community Center of the International Workers Order on West 125th Street, where the Harlem Suitcase Theater is putting on bare-bones experimental “proletariat” theatrical productions. The audience has left after a performance of Don’t You Want to […]

Special Delivery for Valentine’s Day

This post was written by Tammy Kiter, Manuscript Reference Librarian. Like it or loathe it, Valentine’s Day is upon us. With all the advertisements for expensive jewelry, bountiful bouquets and fine dining, one might overlook the significance of a good old fashioned Valentine. Yep, a card can hold just as much meaning as a giant […]

“Little Ethiopians:” 19th Century Photography of African Americans

To kick off Black History Month, here is a cabinet card that has fascinated me ever since I stumbled across it in our Portrait File. Titled “Little Ethiopians,” it’s a composite of 21 portraits of African-American babies. The cabinet card was issued by Smith’s Studio of Photography in Chicago, Illinois, and bears an 1881 copyright […]

Woman of Letters: Charlotte Lennox and The Life of Harriot Stuart

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, […]

Vintage advertising calendars

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 […]

“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, […]

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