New-York Historical Society

Category Archives: Manuscripts

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 […]

“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 […]

Damn the torpedoes! The Battle of Mobile Bay

This post was written by Alice Browne, Ebsco Project cataloger. The Battle of Mobile Bay, fought on August 5, 1864, led to Union control of one of the last significant Gulf ports remaining in Confederate hands. The New-York Historical Society holds letters and papers from several participants in the battle. It was widely anticipated, and […]

“I wish to be honorable & right in my dealings all round” — Letters from Louisa May Alcott to James Redpath

This post was written by Miranda Schwartz, cataloging technician. The New-York Historical Society Library has a collection of eighteen letters by Louisa May Alcott, best known as the author of the 1868 novel Little Women, a classic of American children’s literature. The Alcott letters are in the American Historical Manuscripts Collection, a trove of 12,000 small […]

The Preservation of 18th Century Parchment

This post was written by Janet Lee, Conservation Assistant  Parchment is a kind of processed animal skin that has been used for centuries as a writing surface. Considered strong and stable, parchments have traditionally been used for important documents. These parchments are late 18th century colonial land grants from the Banyar manuscript collection. Like most […]

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

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