New-York Historical Society

Category Archives: Photographs

The X-Rays of Melville E. Stone, Jr.

Scrapbooks are unpredictable. Each page turn may reveal some obscure, interesting piece of ephemera, photograph or letter. But it’s still a bit surprising to unearth x-rays of a man’s head and chest as we found in one of  two enormous scrapbooks of Melville E. Stone Jr. Born in Chicago in 1874, Stone was an 1897 graduate of Harvard [...]

Rare photographs of Hart Island, New York’s potter’s field

Off-limit to the public for over 35 years, Hart Island — a mile-long island off the eastern coast of the Bronx — has remained one of New York City’s most closely guarded secrets.  It is the home of New York’s “potter’s field,” for those who can’t afford to pay for burial, or whose identity is [...]

Horse Thieves Beware!

This post is by Brenna McCormick-Thompson, Print Room Reference Assistant In the autumn of 1815, a group of concerned citizens in Westchester County, New York banded together to put a stop to one of the most egregious crimes plaguing the region: horse stealing.    Having identified a very real threat to their homes and communities, a [...]

Beware of Things that go Blog in the Night

This post is by Tammy Kiter, Manuscript Reference Librarian Halloween’s origins can be traced back to the Celtic festival known as Samhain (pronounced “sow-in”). The Celts’ New Year was November 1st. They believed that on the night before the New Year, boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped and that ghosts [...]

Rockaway After Sandy

This post was written by Marybeth Kavanagh, Print Room Reference Librarian Almost a year after Superstorm Sandy hit New York City, waterfront communities are still feeling  the impact.  To commemorate the one year anniversary of Sandy, a set of  photographs documenting the effects of the storm in Rockaway Park, Queens was given to the New-York [...]

Redwoods and Hitler: the link between nature conservation and the eugenics movement

In 1931, the California State Park Commission presented this engrossed certificate in gratitude to Save the Redwoods League founders  Henry Fairfield Osborn, Madison Grant and John C. Merriam. From all appearances, it’s an attractive reminder of the achievements of the early conservation movement. What is less apparent is a darker link between the three founders [...]

“Perhaps Rain, Perhaps Not”: Josh Billings Parodies the Almanac

This post was written by cataloger Catherine Falzone. Continuing our series  of highlights from the American Almanac Collection, another almanac of note is the Farmer’s Allminax by Josh Billings. Josh Billings was the pen name of humorist Henry Wheeler Shaw (1818-1885). Shaw was a member of a prominent New England family—his father was a member of Congress, [...]

The Drag Queen Stroll: Jeff Cowen and 1980s New York City

This article is written by Joe Festa, Manuscript Reference Librarian. Jeff Cowen, a contemporary art photographer born in New York City, is best known for his portraits and collages, and a painterly approach to his photographic process. Five gelatin silver prints by Cowen are housed within the Photographer File here at New-York Historical Society. Taken [...]

A Slice of the 20th Century – The Bernard Gotfryd Photograph Collection

This post was written by Twila Rios, Intern in the department of  Prints, Photographs and Architectural Collections. It’s tempting sometimes to define history as only items no longer in living memory.  Items over 100 years old usually fit into this definition.  But as an archival student, I’ve often heard the opposite:  “History happens under our [...]

The Photography of Claire Yaffa

This post was written by Twila Rios, Summer Intern in the department of  Prints, Photographs and Architectural Collections. The New-York Historical Society has two collections of photographer Claire Yaffa:  the Claire Yaffa Children with AIDS photograph collection  and the Claire Yaffa New York Foundling Hospital photograph collection.  A portion of the Children with Aids photograph [...]

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