Artist as soldier: David Cronin’s sketches from the field of war
February 12, 2014

This post was written by Deborah Tint, cataloging assistant.   At the start of the Civil War Harper’s Weekly, then known as a journal of news, culture and serial fiction, sprang into action to provide striking images of the conflict to those at home and at the front. Articles appeared to inform readers that a corps of “Regular Artist-Correspondents”…

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The Dancing Cavalier: The Dual Lives of Edward Ferrero
October 2, 2013

Written by Maureen Maryanski, Reference Librarian for Printed Collections. Among the Civil War related papers in the American History Manuscript Collection at the Historical Society are those of Union Army General Edward Ferrero (1831-1899). This one folder collection consists mainly of items relating to his military commissions. These materials document Ferrero’s progress through the war,…

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“They deliberately set fire to it … simply because it was the home of unoffending colored orphan children”: The New York Draft Riots and the burning of the Colored Orphan Asylum
July 16, 2013

This post was written by Matthew Murphy, Head of Cataloging and Metadata. This week marks the 150th anniversary of the New York Draft Riots, one of bloodiest and most violent insurrections in American history. A perfect storm of social unrest, ethnic hatred, and class conflict led to the brutal and horrifying riots, which were popularized…

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Almost an Alleghanian: or how N-YHS tried to change the nation’s name to the United States of Alleghania
January 30, 2013

Given the New-York Historical Society’s reluctance to change so much as the hyphen in its own name (see “It Can Hyphen Here: Why the New-York Historical Society Includes a Hyphen”), it may come as a shock to learn that in 1845, N-YHS spearheaded an effort to give an entirely new name to the whole country….

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“Are and henceforward shall be free”: Marking the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation
January 2, 2013

If you’ve been preoccupied with the “fiscal cliff” saga over the last several days, you may have missed a rather significant milestone. 150 years ago yesterday, on January 1, 1863, Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in all rebellious states, enacting what has been described as, behind the Declaration of the United States, perhaps “the single…

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Top Secret: the Stager ciphers in the Civil War
October 3, 2012

Anson Stager is not exactly a household name, but perhaps that is only fitting for a man whose main claim to fame is that he created the most widely used — and most effective — secret code during the Civil War. Born in Ontario County, New York, in 1833, Anson Stager began his career as…

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Remembering Antietam
September 17, 2012

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…

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Johnny Reb in the Big Apple: The Confederate Veteran Camp of New York
May 23, 2012

This post was written by N-YHS intern Rachel Schimke, a graduate student in the Archives and Public History program at NYU, who processed the Alexander Robert Chisolm Papers. Though most war-weary Confederate soldiers returned home following Lee’s surrender, not all had the ability or interest to recover their lives in the South. Founded in 1890,…

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The Sailor’s Life
January 6, 2012

Sometimes primary sources overturn history’s misconceptions while at others they simply illustrate common knowledge. The latter is a task by a cache of records from the Richard Worsam Meade 2nd Papers in conveying the colorful life of a sailor. The documents in question all cover the Civil War service of the USS San Jacinto, a screw…

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