A Pictorial Record of New York’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial March, April 5, 1968
A Pictorial Record of New York’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial March, April 5, 1968
January 15, 2015

Margot Gayle is synonymous with historic preservation. A leading figure in the movement which found its voice following the tragic loss of Pennsylvania Station in 1963, Gayle played a seminal role in the creation of New York’s Landmark Preservation Law two years later. For sixteen years she penned an architecture column in the Daily News while  helping to found the Victorian…

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“The Science of Government” and the U.S. Constitution
“The Science of Government” and the U.S. Constitution
June 18, 2014

While preparing for a presentation about the intellectual foundations of American political thought, I consulted Donald Lutz’s book A Preface to American Political Theory which offers an interesting introduction into an extremely complicated aspect of American history. Among several things that piqued my interest was Lutz’s discussion of the Enlightenment origin and conception of “political science,” a term…

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‘It’s a Small World’ of Tomorrow:  Remembering The 1964-65 New York World’s Fair
‘It’s a Small World’ of Tomorrow: Remembering The 1964-65 New York World’s Fair
April 2, 2014

This post was written by Mariam Touba, Reference Librarian for Printed Collections It was a financial failure and—being unsanctioned—not even a real “world’s fair.”  It stands as little more than yet one more piece of Baby Boomer nostalgia.  But, in fairness, the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair that opened 50 years ago this month was…

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“An abomination in the eyes of sportsmen”: The early days of professional football
“An abomination in the eyes of sportsmen”: The early days of professional football
January 29, 2014

On April 4, 1865, New Yorker James F. Maury wrote in his diary “Very fine day. I celebrated the capture of Richmond by breaking my leg while playing football.” Although the injury will not be new to today’s football fan, the game played that day might not have been quite as familiar. In 1865, football…

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The Everywhere Footprints of Captain John Montresor
The Everywhere Footprints of Captain John Montresor
December 18, 2013

This post was written by Mariam Touba, Reference Librarian for Printed Collections. Fictional works—movies, most memorably—depict characters like Forrest Gump or Woody Allen’s Zelig who manage to turn up at every major historical event alongside the world’s movers and shakers.  A nominee for such a real-life character in 18th-century America would be John Montresor. Unlike…

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A Wintry Dionysiaca
A Wintry Dionysiaca
December 10, 2013

This post was written by Joseph Ditta, Reference Librarian. Pick any contentious global issue. Drinking red wine with fish, perhaps. Or wearing white after Labor Day. Do you hang a paper towel roll over or under? You’re either on one side or the other (always the right side, of course). No shilly-shallying. How do you feel…

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The Traveller and the Stone: John Ledyard and the Central Park Obelisk
The Traveller and the Stone: John Ledyard and the Central Park Obelisk
March 8, 2013

John Ledyard’s far from a household name in his own country even though he’s arguably the United States’ first explorer, and, had Catherine the Great not abruptly ended his circumnavigation of the globe in 1787-1788, could very well have achieved what Lewis & Clark accomplished fifteen years later. Ledyard also attended Dartmouth, participated in Cook’s Third…

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Cuttin’ the mustard: Gulden’s and the American Institute
Cuttin’ the mustard: Gulden’s and the American Institute
November 21, 2012

Let’s talk mustard. Even if you’ve never actually tried it, it’s unlikely you’d have trouble recognizing a bottle of Gulden’s. Its distinctive gold and crimson label is, at least as far as condiments go, iconic. But have you ever taken a closer look? Like many brands, Gulden’s slapped images of medals  earned in bygone days on…

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“Undesirable edifices generally”: The 1916 Zoning Resolution
“Undesirable edifices generally”: The 1916 Zoning Resolution
July 11, 2012

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…

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