New-York Historical Society

Category Archives: Manuscripts

Meaningful Utility: The Handwritten Word During the American Civil War. Pt. 2 of 2.

This post is by Jonah Estess, Digital Project Intern in the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, approximately 60,000 amputations were performed during the Civil War. This equates to about three out of every four wartime operations. A large percentage of those soldiers had hand or arms amputated. For […]

Meaningful Utility: The Handwritten Word During the American Civil War. Part 1 of 2.

This post is by Jonah Estess, Digital Project Intern in the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library. What would we do without the written word? Written communication has been, and still is, our saving grace. The Civil War was the first time that the American military used the telegraph to communicate information across vast distances in wartime, […]

Walt Whitman, Brotherhood, and the American Civil War

This post was written by Jonah Estess, Digital Project Intern in the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library. In the N-YHS collections are three letters addressed from Walt Whitman to the parents of Erastus E. Haskell, Samuel and Rosalinda Haskell. He writes to them about their son’s condition at a military hospital in Washington D.C. Walt had […]

“We Are All Americans:” Grant, Lee, and Ely Parker at Appomattox Court House

This post was written by Mariam Touba, Reference Librarian for Printed Collections. Robert E. Lee wore a puzzled look as he examined the officer’s dark features, then recovered enough to extend his hand and remark, “I am glad to see one real American here.” On that April 9 afternoon, 150 years ago, at the McLean House […]

“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—, […]

“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 […]

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