New-York Historical Society

Category Archives: Manuscripts

The Shantytown: Nineteenth-Century Manhattan’s “Straggling Suburbs”

This posting was written by Catherine McNeur, a Bernard & Irene Schwartz Postdoctoral Fellow at the New-York Historical Society.  In the spring of 1855 Charles Loring Brace, who had recently started running the Children’s Aid Society, ventured into a neighborhood on the edge of the city called Dutch Hill. Located near East 41st Street and the […]

Historians and America’s First Secret Societies

This posting was written by Kevin Butterfield, a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow at the New-York Historical Society, 2012-1013. Much of what we know about the past we know for one simple reason: someone took the care to record and to preserve some record of his or her time. Thankfully, people like New York’s […]

Where to Live in New York: the Women of the Ladies Christian Union

Everyone knows how hard it is to find housing in New York.  However, locating safe housing for young women in New York City in the mid-nineteenth century was particularly difficult. In 1858, a prayer group known as the “Ladies’ Christian Association” recognized this as a common problem and decided to provide housing for young women […]

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 […]

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