New-York Historical Society

Category Archives: Manuscripts

“To wake the sluggards effectually”: The Beginnings of Daylight Saving Time

This post is by Samantha Walsh, Reference Assistant in the Department of Prints, Photographs & Architectural Collections The first mention of Daylight Saving Time was made by Benjamin Franklin, in a 1784 letter to the editor of the Journal de Paris. While many attribute today’s practice of turning the clocks forward and back to Franklin, it […]

“Rank Abolitionists”: a New Yorker Responds to Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin

On September 22, 1852, New York dry goods merchant Edward Neufville Tailer sat down to record his latest diary entry as he did religiously from 1848 until very nearly the day of his death in 1917. On this particular occasion he reflected on his reading of one of the most famous American literary works, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, published […]

“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 […]

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, […]

The Last Hours of World War I

This post was created by intern Alison Dundy. Imagine hearing the war is over, but a time lag in communications means men are still laying on their bellies in trenches while shells whizz overhead and explode around them. Elsewhere in the world, champagne corks are popping and glasses are raised in toasts to peace. Will […]

“Churl Darling:” The Wartime Letters of Lester and Shirley Halbreich

This blog post was written by Megan Dolan, Archives Intern at N-YHS As is the case with most areas in New York City, Brooklyn has undergone many transformations. Today Brooklyn has become the ‘new Manhattan’, home to a range of wealthy young professionals, trendy cafes on blocks lined with street art, flea markets, and of […]

Who Coined the Phrase ‘United States of America’? You May Never Guess

This post was written by Mariam Touba, Reference Librarian for Printed Collections Take a look.  Dated January 2, 1776,  many months earlier than once thought, this, quite likely, is the first time the name “United States of America” was ever written, or possibly even expressed. People have indeed tossed around the question, “Who named this […]

“Look at them constantly with all your might”: the art education of Edwin Howland Blashfield

This post is written by Joe Festa, Manuscript Reference Librarian. Mural artist Edwin Howland Blashfield, born in Brooklyn in 1848, is perhaps best known for adorning the dome of the Library of Congress Main Reading Room in Washington, DC. His work can be characterized by his formal European apprenticeship in the classical arts, which greatly […]

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 […]

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