“Little Ethiopians:” 19th Century Photography of African Americans
“Little Ethiopians:” 19th Century Photography of African Americans
February 4, 2015

To kick off Black History Month, here is a cabinet card that has fascinated me ever since I stumbled across it in our Portrait File. Titled “Little Ethiopians,” it’s a composite of 21 portraits of African-American babies. The cabinet card was issued by Smith’s Studio of Photography in Chicago, Illinois, and bears an 1881 copyright…

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In honor of Labor Day: a photographic tribute to New Yorkers at work
In honor of Labor Day: a photographic tribute to New Yorkers at work
August 26, 2014

While historians still debate who first proposed a labor day holiday, there is no question as to where the first Labor Day celebration took place. Like most other important events, it happened right here in New York City. On September 5, 1882, a parade organized by the city’s Central Labor Union marched up Broadway, past…

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Digitization 101
Digitization 101
July 30, 2014

This post was written by library intern Jacob Laurenti The digitization of collections is a controversial issue at museums and libraries.  It can be both expensive and time-consuming, and some argue that the quality and detail of artwork is lost in the digitization process.  But there are also obvious benefits to scanning photographs, manuscripts and…

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Joseph P. Day: The Man Who Sold The Bronx
Joseph P. Day: The Man Who Sold The Bronx
February 19, 2014

Post written by Daniel Velardo, Scanning Technician New York City officially consolidated with its outer boroughs in 1898. The metropolitan area was now comprised of vast swaths of unpopulated lands ready for development, especially those east of the Bronx River which were formerly part of Westchester County. This problem was solved in in 1904 when…

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“A Real Santa:” the portrait photography of Theron W. Kilmer
“A Real Santa:” the portrait photography of Theron W. Kilmer
December 24, 2013

Long before SantaCon, Theron W. Kilmer found — and photographed — “A Real Santa” in New York City. Although largely forgotten now, in his own time Theron W. Kilmer was aptly described as “an amazing person.”   He was a distinguished physician, an associate professor of pediatrics, a writer, a lecturer, an honorary police chief,…

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Rare photographs of Hart Island, New York’s potter’s field
Rare photographs of Hart Island, New York’s potter’s field
November 20, 2013

Off-limit to the public for over 35 years, Hart Island — a mile-long island off the eastern coast of the Bronx — has remained one of New York City’s most closely guarded secrets.  It is the home of New York’s “potter’s field,” for those who can’t afford to pay for burial, or whose identity is…

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Rockaway After Sandy
Rockaway After Sandy
October 23, 2013

This post was written by Marybeth Kavanagh, Print Room Reference Librarian Almost a year after Superstorm Sandy hit New York City, waterfront communities are still feeling  the impact.  To commemorate the one year anniversary of Sandy, a set of  photographs documenting the effects of the storm in Rockaway Park, Queens was given to the New-York…

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The Drag Queen Stroll: Jeff Cowen and 1980s New York City
The Drag Queen Stroll: Jeff Cowen and 1980s New York City
September 11, 2013

This article is written by Joe Festa, Manuscript Reference Librarian. Jeff Cowen, a contemporary art photographer born in New York City, is best known for his portraits and collages, and a painterly approach to his photographic process. Five gelatin silver prints by Cowen are housed within the Photographer File here at New-York Historical Society. Taken…

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The Photography of Claire Yaffa
The Photography of Claire Yaffa
August 7, 2013

This post was written by Twila Rios, Summer Intern in the department of  Prints, Photographs and Architectural Collections. The New-York Historical Society has two collections of photographer Claire Yaffa:  the Claire Yaffa Children with AIDS photograph collection  and the Claire Yaffa New York Foundling Hospital photograph collection.  A portion of the Children with Aids photograph…

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