This post is one in a quarterly series in which the New-York Historical Society highlights the collections for which detailed finding aids were published over the prior three months. All collections receive at least a summary description in our catalog, Bobcat. But many collections have such depth or are simply so large or complex that a fuller roadmap to them is warranted. Follow this link to the full text search engine for all N-YHS finding aids.
Puppet play scripts and story texts, in English with some examples of Yiddish, assembled by Beatrice Bernfeld (1906–1997), a New York City children’s librarian who performed them using eight figures she constructed of papier-mâché (now held by the New-York Historical Society Museum). Most plays are adaptions of traditional European folk and fairy tales, while the stories are drawn from well-known writers like Washington Irving, Lewis Carroll, and the Yiddish language authors I. L. Peretz and Sholem Aleichem.
The collection holds 29 scrapbooks compiled by New Yorker Adele Buchalter (1899-1991). Comprised primarily of photographs, the albums trace Buchalter’s life from infancy through her move at age 80 to a retirement community. Subjects include, among others, Buchalter’s school years at Horace Mann School for Girls and Vassar College, volunteer service at the start of World War I, her career in retail mostly as a buyer/purchasing agent, her family history (which includes 19th century Jewish immigrants from Germany), and extensive travels in the 1970s.
The collection includes records from CITYarts Inc. and its predecessor organization Cityarts Workshop. CITYarts is a nonprofit public arts and education organization that engages youth with professional artists in the creation of public art, including murals and mosaics. The collection is especially rich in its photographic documentation of CITYarts and Cityarts Workshop projects from 1969 into the 2010s. There is much original artwork in the collection, including drawings from youth around the world as part of the Pieces for Peace project. Program administration files include those related to publicity, press coverage, and fundraising, among others.
The records of book publishers Dodd, Mead & Company consist of the administrative, financial, publicity, and publication records of the organization, with some family photographs and biographical material. The collection is especially rich in author contract summaries, profit/loss calculations for individual titles, printing histories and inventories of titles, and book catalogues. Although books in the collection extend back to 1720 and through the 1800s, the bulk of the collection are business records and these date primarily from the 1890s and into the 1970s, with a few earlier and later.
A small collection of papers and photographs documenting the Iselin family of New York, particularly the immediate descendants of banker Columbus O’Donnell Iselin (1851–1933) and his wife, Edith Colford (Jones) Iselin (1854–1930), as well as their Jones and O’Donnell forbears.
James N. Wells (1790-1860), his descendants, and the real estate firm of James Wells’ Sons were central figures in the development of the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City’s Manhattan borough. Clement Clarke Moore (1779-1863) was a major landowner in Chelsea, which takes its name from Moore’s estate, and Wells was Moore’s agent in the development and management of the properties. The properties of Moore’s heirs and extended family were managed by Wells’s son, grandsons, and successor businesses into the twentieth century. This collection, with extensive real estate transaction documentation, provides an in-depth view of the property holdings of the Moore family from the 18th to early 20th centuries, and the intricacies and long tail of generational wealth transfers.
The collection includes Carolyn Cassady Kent’s files, dating from about 1984-2009, concerning her activism in historic preservation in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of New York City. Among the many preservation projects represented in the collection are those concerning the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, the neighborhood surrounding Columbia University, the Hamilton Grange, Hamilton Vaudeville Palace (Hamilton Theater), 440 Riverside Drive (Kent’s residence), and others.
The collection includes research notes compiled circa 1950s by Margot Mayo (1910-1974), mostly concerning the history of dance, dancers, and dancing instruction in New York City and the nation from 1730-1900.
The collection includes membership applications from 1895-1963; foundational documents from the Military Order’s inception in 1894-1895; meeting minutes and related documents for the organization’s early decades through 1922; photographs of about 100 members (known as companions), including its Commanders from the early twentieth century; a history of the national organization self-published in 1997; and other items.
The collection includes records of St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery from its earliest days at the end of the 18th century and into the early 21st century. The collection is particularly rich in two respects: with administrative and financial records for the 19th century and early 20th century, and with records related to the renovation and restoration of the church building and grounds and of the rectory in the last decades of the 20th century.
Consumer Marketing was a division within Time Inc. which had charge of all activities in support of direct marketing for Time Inc. magazines. The collection consists of a binder of statistics on the sales, circulation, and net profit or loss of various Time Inc. magazines.
Time Inc. studied the concept of what became Entertainment Weekly for years before actually publishing the magazine. A Task Force on Entertainment Weekly was formed to study every aspect of the proposed magazine including editorial direction and content, projections on advertising and circulation, and to perform direct-mail tests to gauge consumer interest in the magazine.
The Evening Star Newspaper Co. was the publisher of the Washington, D.C. daily newspaper The Evening Star. Founded in 1852, the newspaper held several names during its existence. Time Inc. purchased the newspaper in 1978 when it was known as The Washington Star. This collection contains company records from prior to Time Inc.’s acquisition including staff newsletters, a handwritten record of births of children to employees, and accounting books.
The Information Systems Group was created by Time Inc. to plan and oversee use of computer and data processing resources by employees of the company. The collection consists of studies on the creation of a corporate data center and personnel/payroll computer systems, history of the data center, and manuals for the use of computer services offered by the Group.
PHOTOGRAPHS AND GRAPHIC MATERIALS
This collection contains material from the records of the architect Michael Arad (1969- ), primarily related to his design of the National September 11 Memorial in New York City, which opened to the public on September 11, 2011.
The William G. Butler photography collection, collected by William G. Butler, consists primarily of photographs of New York City from 1890-2015. The earliest document in the collection, from 1875, is a page from an Ulster County atlas.
The collection consists of 12 vintage silver gelatin photographs taken in the early 1930s by Samuel H. Gottscho (1875-1971). Ten of the photographs, taken in 1933, are of Manhattan views. One is centered on Welfare Island (Roosevelt Island) and one is a detail of a cemetery at Gardiner’s Island in East Hampton.
Records of the architectural firms of George B. Post and George B. Post & Sons. Among their best-known commissions are the Long Island Historical Society (1878–1879) [now Center for Brooklyn History], New York Stock Exchange (1901–1904) and the Wisconsin State Capitol (1904–1907). The collection consists of circa 8,600 architectural drawings, ink on linen and blueprints; circa 200 watercolor renderings, ink drawings, and pencil sketches; 75 packages of specifications; 5 albums of photographs; 1,000 separate photographs; 2 clipping scrapbooks (1882-1903); 5 letterpress books (1867-1884); circa 1,700 incoming letters (1872-1875); 1 ledger and 1 journal of Gambrill & Post (1864-1867); circa 60 financial ledgers and journals (1868-1951); 2 volumes of personnel employment records (1881-1918); 1 package of publications by firm members.
This post is by Larry Weimer, Head of Archival Processing.