New-York Historical Society

Category Archives: Photographs

A Different Booth: William Henry Seward corresponds with Mary L. Booth

This post was written by Maureen Maryanski, Reference Librarian for General Collections. Where we start is not necessarily where we end. This statement is quite true of my research into William Henry Seward, prominent political figure and Secretary of State for Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. What started as an inquiry into his public life, [...]

William Waldorf Astor’s Premature “Brush” With Death

Celebrity train wrecks are pretty standard fare for today’s news media (thank you TMZ) but that doesn’t mean history lacks its share of eccentric and ill-advised antics; among these is the the premature report of William Waldorf Astor’s death in 1892. After a middling political career and having inherited a personal fortune that drew the unrelenting [...]

“Meet Me at the Double R Coffee House”

Coffee’s big in the “city that never sleeps”. And it’s not a new thing either: a great little snapshot of this love affair has popped up in the form of a menu and an advertisement for the Double R Coffee House. Sure, you’ve never heard of it but the venture’s partners were none other than [...]

Remembering Antietam

This post was written by Alice Browne, N-YHS cataloguer September 17 marks the hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the battle of Antietam, the bloodiest single day of fighting in the Civil War, which left almost four thousand dead. It was not a conclusive victory for either side, but did put an end to Lee’s invasion [...]

Before Rosa Parks: Taking on New York’s Segregated Street Car Companies

Post written by Eric Robinson  So much has been written about the struggle against slavery and segregation in the American south that it is easy to forget that race relations in the north have been just as knotty. It is comparatively unknown that nineteenth-century New York City’s public transportation systems were racially segregated: African-Americans were [...]

“Undesirable edifices generally”: The 1916 Zoning Resolution

The built environment, especially in so eclectic a place as New York City, has a way of hiding history in plain sight. With that in mind, if you have never noticed how many of the profiles of early 20th century buildings in New York retreat incrementally from the sidewalk as the building grows taller, then [...]

Transits of Venus from Times Past

On June 5th a rare transit of Venus will occur that can be seen from most of North America.  During the transit, Venus can be seen from Earth as a small black dot moving across the sun.  A transit, in which Venus passes directly between the Sun and Earth, is exceptional in that it occurs [...]

Clarke and Rapuano, Landscape Architects

April — better known as the month of showers, Frederick Law Olmsted’s birthday, and Earth Day — has also been designated National Landscape Architect month.  Aside from Olmsted, however, landscape architects continue to fly largely under the radar.  A case in point:  Clarke and Rapuano, a firm with enormous impact on New York City’s urban [...]

Happy Birthday Yellowstone!

Last Thursday (March 1), Yellowstone National Park marked its 140th year of existence. It’s also a perfect excuse to remind everyone that, despite our name, the New-York Historical Society’s collections document the history of the entire United States, not just of New York and its neighbors. In his 2008 television series documenting his tour of [...]

The Tale of the Wandering Washington

Written by Joseph Ditta, Reference Librarian. In honor of Presidents’ Day, come with us back to 1889, when the celebrations marking the centennial of George Washington’s inauguration as first president of the United States were in full swing. Perhaps the most impressive manifestation of New York’s pride of place as the location for that memorable [...]

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