New-York Historical Society

Category Archives: Holidays

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 […]

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 […]

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.                      

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 […]

Before the Declaration of Independence…

The line between historical obscurity and fame is often a fine one. It’s not surprising then that on July 4th no one thinks about the most important document produced by Congress before the Declaration of Independence: the Declaration of the Causes and of the Necessity of Taking Up Arms. As its title implies, it was a justification for […]

The Tale of the Wandering Washington, No. 2

This post was written by Mariam Touba, Reference Librarian. Last year at this time, we commemorated George Washington’s birthday by following a wooden statue of the general and President in its convoluted journey from city monument to private hands to mythologizing.  It would not be the only sculpture to share such a fate, and this […]

Louis Prang, Father of the American Christmas Card

This post was written by Marybeth Kavanagh, Print Room Reference Librarian. It’s widely accepted that the  first Christmas card was printed in London in 1843, when Sir Henry Cole hired artist John Calcott Horsley to design a holiday card that he could send to his friends. But it was Boston-based printer Louis Prang who introduced […]

Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?

It sounds like an easy question, right? Well, Thomas Jefferson certainly wrote it — in terms of authorship. But do you know whose hand it was that literally produced the famous handwritten copy? If you’re not sure, don’t worry, historians aren’t completely certain either. That said, there is consensus that it was “probably” Timothy Matlack, of […]

The Tale of the Wandering Washington

Written by Joseph Ditta, Reference Librarian. In honor of Presidents’ Day, come with us back to 1889, when the celebrations marking the centennial of George Washington’s inauguration as first president of the United States were in full swing. Perhaps the most impressive manifestation of New York’s pride of place as the location for that memorable […]

Friggatriskaidekaphobes Need Not Apply

Written by Joseph Ditta, Reference Librarian Thirteenth Annual Report of the Thirteen Club, 1895 (cover) Happy Friday the Thirteenth! Are you cowering under the covers, hoping to escape the horrible tragedies that are doomed to hit you should you set foot out of bed? If you answered yes, we are sorry to say your friggatriskaidekaphobia […]

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