- My NYPL
New & Notable
Made at NYPL
Tools and Services
- Using the Library
I am a...
- Classes & Events
- Support the Library
Astor Library records, 1839-1911.
- 49 linear feet (72 boxes, 172 volumes, 1 reel).
Advance permission is required to access Board of Trusteesminutes.
Volumes 8 and 10 are closed to research for preservation reasons. Readers may use photocopies of these items identified as Volumes 9 and 11.
Restricted access; Manuscripts and Archives Division; Permit must be requested at the division indicated.
The Astor Library records span the years 1839-1911, with the bulk dating from the period 1870-1890.
Administration records include annual reports, by-laws, correspondence, notebooks, scrapbooks, albums and miscellaneous historical material. Collections records include documents concerning acquisitions of books and periodicals, catalogs and registers of holdings, want lists and bindery records. Readers records include registers of library users with statistics on books consulted and subject lists. Finance records consist of correspondence, statements, checks, bank books, and similar fiscal documents.
The Astor Library was founded as a privately funded reference library, open without charge to the public.
It was established by the will of John Jacob Astor in 1848. Joseph Green Cogswell, the first Superintendent of the Library, was instrumental in its planning a decade before Astor's death. The Superintendent was assisted by alibrarian, Frederick Saunders, from 1858. Washington Irving was the first president of its 11 member board of trustees. The Board concerned itself with the Library's administration and financial matters. The Superintendent and Librarian oversaw collection acquisition and cataloging as well as reader registration.
From 1849 to 1853 the Astor Library occupied temporary quarters at 32 Bond Street. In 1854 the Astor Library building, designed by Alexander Saelzer and located on Astor land on Lafayette Place, opened to the public. Two major extensions of the building were made, in 1859 and 1881, which increased the Library's capacity to 400,000 volumes. As a public institution insufficiently funded byone family, the Astor Library faced financial difficultiesfrom the time of its founding. In 1894 it entered into talks to consolidate with the Tilden Trust and, later, theLenox Library. In 1895 the consolidation of these three entities was completed, forming the New York Public Library.
Controlled Access Terms
- Astor, John Jacob, 1763-1848.
- Cogswell, Joseph Green.
- Irving, Washington, 1783-1859.
- Saunders, Frederick, 1807-1902.
- Saelzer, Alexander.
- Astor Library.
- New York Public Library.
- Research libraries -- Acquisitions.
- Libraries -- New York (State) -- New York.
- Libraries -- History -- 19th century.
- Library finance.
- Acquisitions (Libraries) -- New York (State) -- New York.
- Classification -- Books.
- Library catalogs.
- Library circulation and loans.
- Research libraries -- New York (State) -- New York.
- Annual reports.
- Financial records.