George Washington, engraving after a portrait by John Trumbull, PR 052, Box 148.
George Washington, the Battle of Brooklyn, and a possible footnote on Alexander Hamilton
September 21, 2016

This post was written by Mariam Touba, Reference Librarian for Printed Collections. The drama of bravery, defeat, and successful retreat in 1776 will be on display as “The Battle of Brooklyn” exhibition opens at The New-York Historical Society this week.  This first major battle of the American Revolution remained seared in George Washington’s memory.  An…

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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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Hamilton FI
NOW ON VIEW – Hamilton: A life in Documents
October 20, 2015

In conjunction with the success of the Broadway musical Hamilton, the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library at the New-York Historical Society is exhibiting a selection of original manuscript documents and contemporary printed works in the library reading room evoking the remarkable life of America’s first Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton (1757?-1804). Like a great number…

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Horatio Gates, Samuel Washington, and America’s Original Sin
July 28, 2015

This post was written by Julia Lipkins, Reference Archivist, Manuscript Department. Archival collections from the Revolutionary War period are thick with stories of soldiers and generals, their battles won and lost. Although less evident, collections of this era also contain documentation of what President Obama recently described as the “nation’s original sin,”[i] i.e. the institution of slavery….

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“Some relicks of Genl. Washington”: The Misadventures of the Washington Papers
July 1, 2015

On December 18, 1836, Henry Van Der Lyn penned a letter to his nephew describing a visit to the Georgetown home of Col. George Corbin Washington, with a former student, Congressman Aaron Ward. As they prepared to leave, George Washington’s grand-nephew called them back to show them “some relicks” of his esteemed great uncle. In his…

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“Profligate, abandoned, and dissipated”: New York City’s Last Colonial Mayor
June 10, 2015

This year marks 350 years since Governor Richard Nicoll appointed New York’s first mayor, Thomas Willett, in 1665. Much has changed since the office’s earliest days, including the expansion of the mayor’s powers. New York mayors are now known far and wide while a comparatively small number of the 109 overall are familiar to the average New Yorker. Among this less recognizable cohort…

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Who Coined the Phrase ‘United States of America’? You May Never Guess
November 5, 2014

This post was written by Mariam Touba, Reference Librarian for Printed Collections Take a look.  Dated January 2, 1776,  many months earlier than once thought, this, quite likely, is the first time the name “United States of America” was ever written, or possibly even expressed. People have indeed tossed around the question, “Who named this…

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I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!
July 26, 2013

This post was written by Tammy Kiter, Manuscript Reference Librarian Who among us doesn’t enjoy a cold, creamy treat on a hot summer day? In honor of July being National Ice Cream month, I thought we’d take a little trip down creamery lane to celebrate ice cream in all its delicious glory. It is estimated…

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The Tale of the Wandering Washington, No. 2
February 13, 2013

This post was written by Mariam Touba, Reference Librarian. Last year at this time, we commemorated George Washington’s birthday by following a wooden statue of the general and President in its convoluted journey from city monument to private hands to mythologizing.  It would not be the only sculpture to share such a fate, and this…

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