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AHMC of the Month: Benjamin Smith affidavit of freedom
February 9, 2016

  This post was written by Matthew Murphy, Head of Cataloging and Metadata. One of the many interesting aspects of the American Historical Manuscript Collection is the opportunity for new research it provides. One such item that would benefit from a deeper investigation is the June 16, 1821, affidavit of freedom for Benjamin Smith. Little is…

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NOW ON VIEW: A Celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr., with selections relating to African American history
February 3, 2016

Through March, the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library at the New-York Historical Society is displaying a number of documents reflecting the long history of African Americans in North America. These complement a particularly important new acquisition, an original letter from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to publisher Henry Luce, that came to N-YHS as part of the recent…

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A closer look at the origins of the “skyscraper”
January 28, 2016

Some words wear a patina of history that make them appear to have been around forever. Others, like “skyscraper,” seem inherently modern, embodying the age which first saw the buildings they describe. By complete accident, while looking at an early 19th-century log book in the papers of Philadelphia physician and botanist, William Darlington, we recently stumbled across the word…

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N-YHS Institutional Archives Finding Aids Now On-line (Part 2)
January 21, 2016

This post was written by Project Archivist Larry Weimer. In Part 1 of this blog posted last week, I introduced N-YHS’ institutional archives project now underway thanks to a generous grant from the Leon Levy Foundation. Several finding aids are now online, and in this Part 2, I would like to give you a short…

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“Information from another quarter”: Washington writes to his spy master
January 20, 2016

Few things inspire curiosity like a George Washington letter…or a letter about spies. This past fall, a very generous donor presented to the New-York Historical Society a most interesting item: a George Washington letter about spies! Dated August 21, 1780, Washington writes to Major Benjamin Tallmadge regarding the Culper Spy Ring, one of Washington’s most successful intelligence-gathering networks during the American…

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AHMC of the Month: Was he mad? The sensational Guiteau trial and the assassination of President Garfield
January 12, 2016

This post was written by AHMC cataloger Miranda Schwartz. A small, bright-red trial pass from the American Historical Manuscript Collection leads us to look back at a sensational 19th-century trial—that of Charles J. Guiteau, an unstable, itinerant bill collector and lawyer who assassinated President James A. Garfield just four months after his election. For years…

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N-YHS Institutional Archives Finding Aids Now On-line (Part 1)
January 6, 2016

This post was written by Project Archivist Larry Weimer. Over the course of its 211 year history, the New-York Historical Society has been steadily accumulating the records of one of New York and America’s pre-eminent cultural institutions; of an organization that ranks as the second oldest state historical society in the United States and the…

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Treasure Trove: New Year Cake for Everyone!
December 30, 2015

This post was written by Luis Rodriguez, Collections Management Specialist The holidays are full of traditions, and more often than not those traditions revolve around eating. In New Year celebrations, menus often contain foods meant to symbolize or even bring about good fortune. Lentils, for instance, are said to represent prosperity, and if you happen…

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Young John Remsen’s Christmas Poem “To His Honoured Parents”
December 23, 2015

With Christmas just two days away, it seems a good time to post this little bit of history. In one sense it’s self-explanatory, a poem written out by hand and signed by John Remsen on Christmas Day, 1803. But it’s also a perfect example of a slightly more obscure practice. It is precisely what the Encyclopedia of Ephemera describes…

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