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.
- The collection holds the papers of Time, Inc. executive Edgar R. Baker (1920-1969), especially as they relate to his almost two decades as head of Time’s international unit, TIME-LIFE International, during its years of expansion from the mid-1940s to mid-1960s. The collection includes business and personal correspondence; subject files; speeches on U.S. foreign relations; photographs of business meetings, conferences, and social gatherings; and memorabilia from childhood school years to adulthood. An extensive set of carbon copies of Baker’s business letters and memoranda from 1950 into the 1960s provides insight into Baker’s leadership in confronting both internal challenges (performance of overseas offices and staff, expense management, revenue growth) and external obstacles (protectionist markets, government regulations, censorship) in expanding Time’s global presence. Baker’s personal letters to his wife and mother while traveling abroad, especially during his months-long trip in 1947, provide another angle of vision on the work of an international publisher seeking to extend American economic and policy interests globally in the post-World War II era.
- A small collection of deeds, address books, and financial items stemming from the Bronx-based Bush family, descendants of Scottish immigrant John S. Bush (1844–1913). Includes minutes of the John S. Bush Manufacturing Co., purveyors of ice, wood, and coal (1909–1919), and European travel diaries kept by Frances Maude (Morris) Bush (1928–1936).
- Trial docket books (1981–2000) and clipping and subject files (1982–1991) of New York Criminal Court and Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Crane, who presided over the sensational trial of Bernhard Goetz, the so-called “Subway Vigilante.” Goetz, a white electronics engineer, shot four African American youths who asked him for money aboard the No. 2 train on December 22, 1984. He was acquitted of attempted murder, but found guilty of illegal possession of a handgun. The collection includes a 9,505-page transcript of the proceedings of The People of the State of New York v. Bernhard Goetz (1986–1987), plus two artifacts signed by the trial participants—the judge, jurors, attorneys, court officers and reporters, and the defendant himself.
- The collection includes 56 letters written by Alexander Garrigue (1887-1943) to his family from October 1917 to November 1918 while he was stationed at Camp Upton on Long Island during World War I. Using a frequently jocular tone, Garrigue describes his experiences at camp, including military drills, camp pranks, rumors, efforts to obtain passes, hospital stays, and other subjects. His writing often takes an imaginary or metaphorical turn, including in relation to the impact of the Spanish influenza on the camp.
- The collection holds the records from the early twentieth century brokerage firm George P. Butler & Brother, particularly for its later years from 1906 until its dissolution in 1911. The collection holds correspondence, client statements, transaction blotters, ledgers, journals, and cancelled checks.
- This collection consists mainly of the research notes, drafts, and chapter outlines of Louise Biles Hill’s unpublished book about Major John André (1751-1780). André was an officer in the British Army and head of its Secret Service in America during the American Revolutionary War. He was hanged as a spy by the Continental Army for assisting Benedict Arnold’s treason.
- The collection includes the records of the New York Produce Exchange and the related New York Commercial Association, spanning the years 1860-1955. Holding 330 volumes and some unbound papers, there are records of meeting minutes of the Board of Managers, members, and committees; arbitration proceedings and resolutions; membership; data on daily trades, calls, and quotations for a wide range of commodities including cotton seed oil, wheat and other grains, and many more; accounting ledgers and journals; and some employee payroll records. Buildings Committee records relate to the George Post-designed building that opened in 1884 on Broadway at Bowling Green.
- Correspondence, research and subject files, diaries, scrapbooks, and publications of librarian and historian Victor Hugo Paltsits (1867–1952). Dr. Paltsits was associated with the New York Public Library from its inception in 1895 (having been employed by its predecessor, the Lenox Library, since 1888). He served as keeper of manuscripts and chief of NYPL’s American History division until his retirement in 1941. A tireless bibliographer, Paltsits was hailed as an “unnamed partner in a thousand works that have advanced the learning of this country and the world.” The collection includes a substantial number of his published writings, on topics reflecting a wide interest, such as the founding of New Amsterdam, the history of Pemaquid (now Bristol), Maine, and the early American poet Joseph Rodman Drake (1795–1820). Also documented is Paltsits’s tenure as New York State Historian (1907–1911), during when the State Capitol Building at Albany, which then housed the State Library, suffered a devastating fire.
- The collection includes a variety of documents related to landscape architect Samuel B. Parsons Jr. (1844-1923). The documents principally concern his involvement with New York City’s Parks Department and Central Park, for which he was Superintendent of Planting under Calvert Vaux and later Landscape Architect (from about 1880-1911). There are also several corporate records of the privately-held firms Samuel Parsons & Sons and Samuel Parsons, Inc. In connection with Central Park, the collection holds photographs and diagrams related to the restoration of elm trees on the Mall, a typescript of testimony taken during Raymond B. Fosdick’s 1911 investigation into the Parks Department accounts, a draft resolution of exoneration of Parsons by the Parks Board, and a scrapbook and manuscript “memories,” both of which largely concern the Park. In addition the collection also holds several letters from Parsons written to his father while the son was in service during the Civil War with the U.S. Sanitary Commission; a lecture by Parsons with suggestions for landscaping a country home; published works by Parsons; a volume of extracts taken by Parsons of books he read; genealogical notes; photographs of the grounds of various estates; and other documents.
- The collection consists of 44 scrapbooks (1884-1937) created by lawyer and diplomat Charles Hitchcock Sherrill (1867-1936). The scrapbooks contain ephemera,(including postcards, photographs, clippings, ribbons, pins, membership cards, and programs) as well as correspondence and drawings, all of which document Sherrill’s education, work, travels, and interests, especially those related to sports and theater.
- The collection includes the papers of Jack Taylor (1925-2019), with a focus on his activism in historic preservation efforts in New York City from the 1980s through the 2010s. The collection holds correspondence and other rich documentation related to the years-long efforts that culminated in landmark designations for the Ladies’ Mile Historic District (1989), the East 17th Street/Irving Place Historic District (1998), and Tammany Hall (2013), as well as many other initiatives, such as the placement of Ivan Mestrovic’s statue of Antonin Dvořák in Stuyvesant Square. The Drive to Protect the Ladies’ Mile, Union Square Park Community Coalition, Stuyvesant Park Neighborhood Association, Gramercy Neighborhood Associates, and the Historic Districts Council are among the many local preservation organizations represented with records in the collection.
2 more record groups from the ongoing Time, Inc. archives processing project were published:
- The Time Inc. Annex Files is an assembled collection created by the Time Inc. archives of materials considered too bulky or infrequently requested to be housed in the main archives. Records in the Annex Files seem to be an extension of the materials in the Time Inc. Subject Files (MS 3009-RG 1) and document the history of Time Inc. as an organization with information on each publication and many departments at Time Inc. The collection is largely made up of records pertaining to the development of magazines, The March of Time, Home Box Office (HBO), Time-Life Books, and information on public affairs programs and events, international business, and advertising studies and surveys.
- Corporate Circulation was a department of Time Inc. that supervised marketing of subscriptions for all of the company’s magazines which included in-house creation of promotions as well as dealing with outside advertising agencies. The records consist of information on promotion efforts for specific magazines, information on magazine subscribers, and correspondence and agreements with foreign distributors.
- Architectural iron work drawings on trace and waxed trace, from a Queens-based company spanning 70 years. Projects included work on the World Trade Center, LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy Airports, International Design Center (IDC) in Long Island City, Brooklyn Army Terminal, Museum of Modern Art, retail and department stores, hospitals, racetracks, theaters, office buildings, private residences, hotels, and more.
Also, the finding aid for the Bella C. Landauer Collection of Business and Advertising Ephemera was re-published with details previously available only in PDF form and with additional materials not previously included, most notably a series of Military E awards from the 1940s, which was the subject of a blog post by Processing Archivist Marybeth Kavanagh.
This post is by Larry Weimer, Head of Archival Processing, and Holly Deakyne, Time Inc. Project Archivist.