This post was written by cataloger Catherine Falzone.
The American Historical Manuscript Collection (AHMC) contains a wealth of manuscript materials by Americans both famous and obscure. For April’s “AHMC of the Month,” we turn to someone from the latter category: amateur astronomer James H. Gardiner (approximately 1845-1889) of Newburgh, N.Y.
In a letter to James Wells from March 12, 1863, a teenage Gardiner reproduces an article from a local newspaper that describes his discovery of a comet that he observed...Read More
Long before becoming arguably the most celebrated portraitist in American history, even Gilbert Stuart was a starving artist – literally.
With a revolution breaking out in his homeland, Stuart had arrived in England in autumn 1775. But little did he know he would later be describing this choice as “pitching headlong into misery” after failing to generate adequate income. By the time of this undated letter (believed to be around Easter, 1777), he was broke and...Read More
A great primary source often elicits a visceral sense of what it meant to live in the moment of the document's creation. It’s difficult not to have this reaction when reading through two manuscript volumes of New York City coroner’s reports, (1822 -1826) in the N-YHS library. With deaths occurring from beatings, murder, disease, grisly accidents, suicides, drownings, alcoholism, abandoned babies, and of course the random “Visitation by God”, the reports certainly dispel any romantic...Read More
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