New-York Historical Society

Category Archives: Manuscripts

Grace Hoadley Dodge and the Travelers Aid Society of New York

Women’s History Month is the perfect time to pay tribute to a largely unsung heroine, Grace Hoadley Dodge. Born in 1856, to a family prominent in both business and philanthropy, Grace Dodge devoted her life to helping underprivileged women.  She was instrumental in founding a number of prestigious and long-lasting aid organizations, including the YWCA, [...]

“However, be you Scotch or Irish”: Thomas Addis Emmet’s letter to his daughter Jane

For many significant figures, the historical spotlight is focused on their public accomplishments but being able to appreciate the aspect of their lives outside the public sphere often presents an important context for those accomplishments. An excellent example is a cache of letters by famed early nineteenth century Irish-American revolutionary and lawyer Thomas Addis Emmet [...]

The Traveller and the Stone: John Ledyard and the Central Park Obelisk

John Ledyard’s far from a household name in his own country even though he’s arguably the United States’ first explorer, and, had Catherine the Great not abruptly ended his circumnavigation of the globe in 1787-1788, could very well have achieved what Lewis & Clark accomplished fifteen years later. Ledyard also attended Dartmouth, participated in Cook’s Third [...]

Free of an Empire, by Way of an Empress

This posting was written by Dael Norwood, a  Bernard & Irene Schwartz Postdoctoral Fellow at the New-York Historical Society.  On February 22, 1784, a small ship with big ambitions weighed anchor, and sailed down the East River. Commanded by John Green, the Empress of China left New York on George Washington’s birthday aiming to be [...]

“Jeff: Davis, aint this a Go?”: Hiram Rhoades Revels takes his seat in the Senate

On February 25, 1870 Hiram Rhoades Revels, a preacher from Mississippi was sworn into the United States Senate. That occasion marked the first time a man of African descent served in either house of congress. While his service is a landmark in American history, Revels would not seek a second term but did go on [...]

Snakes in the Mail

Although he lived at the Waldorf-Astoria, died at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital and is interred at Green-Wood Cemetery, George A. Treadwell spent the bulk of his career as a mining engineer out west, much of it in the sweltering Arizona desert. Naturally, his papers document this mining work but they also contain some curious incoming [...]

It Can Hyphen Here: Why the New-York Historical Society Includes a Hyphen

Visitors to the New-York Historical Society (as well as many copy editors and printers throughout the ages) have often wondered why the title of our institution includes a hyphen between the “New” and “York”.  The answer is simple; when the New-York Historical Society was founded in 1804, New York was generally written as “New-York.” This [...]

A Soldier’s Story of World War I in Words and Pictures

This post was created by intern Alison Dundy. The illustrated letters of Salvator Cillis are a highlight of the New-York Historical Society’s World War I Collection (MS 671). Cillis was an artist with an edgy sense of humor. His humorous letters and drawings trace the arc of this soldier’s war experience, from enthusiastic patriotism at [...]

John Ruggles Strong: another “Strong” diarist

If not quite a household name, George Templeton Strong enjoys a certain notoriety among historians as a pungent observer of 19th century New York. His 2250-page diary, held by the New-York Historical Society, has been described as “the greatest of American diaries, and one of the world’s great diaries,” and has been cited or quoted [...]

Cuttin’ the mustard: Gulden’s and the American Institute

Let’s talk mustard. Even if you’ve never actually tried it, it’s unlikely you’d have trouble recognizing a bottle of Gulden’s. Its distinctive gold and crimson label is, at least as far as condiments go, iconic. But have you ever taken a closer look? Like many brands, Gulden’s slapped images of medals  earned in bygone days on [...]

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