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Posts from the Manuscripts and Archives Division

Despotic Characters: Researching Shorthand at the New York Public Library

Through multiple gifts over the years, The New York Public Library has gathered an outstanding and extensive collection of shorthand material. These items can help answer such wide-ranging questions as: What was the eruption of Mount Vesuvius like? Why are some of the lines in Shakespeare’s King Lear so weird? and How can I take faster notes in my classes and work meetings?Read More ›

The Rope Maker of Boston and Samuel Adams

In 1797, Isaac Davis, a rope maker of Boston officially had his name changed. To help him stand out from the crowd of other Isaac Davises, he added a ‘P’ to his name as a middle initial: Isaac P. Davis.Read More ›

The Archive in the White Suit: The Tom Wolfe Papers Now Open

The collection, which was acquired by The Library in 2014, fills over 200 boxes and will be a vital resource for the study of Wolfe's writing process, his journalism-based research methods, and the creation of his hugely successful works.Read More ›

Short-Term Research Fellowship: Evert A. Duyckinck's Social Network

A look at the papers of two brothers who were at the center of New York publishing in the mid-1800s.Read More ›

You Must Remember This: The Jeff Kisseloff Oral History Interviews

Between 1986 to 1988, Kisseloff traversed the city with a cassette recorder to interview former longshoreman, bootleggers, pickle makers, butchers, community activists, housewives, and writers in an attempt to capture stories of old Manhattan. Read More ›

The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel

The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel is synonymous with luxurious accommodations. Guests expect excellence in surroundings, room service, food and entertainment. One hundred years ago, white glove service was also expected by guests at the first Waldorf-Astoria's Hotel located on 5th Avenue and 33rd Street.Read More ›

Eastern Conference of Homophile Organizations, 1964

Given the dramatic remapping of marriage equality this past week, it is useful to look back to a very different kind of map of LGBT rights drafted 50 years ago from the archives of a pioneering gay rights group whose records are held in the Library’s Manuscripts & Archives Division.Read More ›

Short-Term Research Fellowship: Timothy Leary as Illuminatus!

The Manuscripts and Archives Division at the New York Public Library has proof that Timothy Leary was in the Illuminati. Or, if he was not an ‘illuminated’ one himself, there is evidence in the Timothy Leary papers that he was in correspondence with representatives of this mythically ambiguous organization from the time of his incarceration in Folsom onwards. Read More ›

From the Archives of the Century: The Century Foundation & NYC, Part II

My previous post detailed the Twentieth Century Fund’s relationship with New York City issues and its first task force on New York City’s economic troubles in the 1970s, the Task Force on Prospects and Priorities of New York City.Read More ›

John Quinn's Art Collection

When few American collectors or museums were investing in the European avant garde, New York lawyer John Quinn (1870–1924) built an art collection primarily comprised of Modernist works. Through social connections and advice from trusted consultants, Quinn became discerning connoisseur and patron of new art.Read More ›

Captain Cook's Mouldy Bread

A prosaic letter from Captain James Cook gives us a glimpse into preparations for his epic second voyage.Read More ›

"Where Were You During the Christopher Street Riots?"

Founded in 1950, the Mattachines took their name from a French Renaissance-era group of masked peasants who performed skits during the Feast of Fools – often ones that poked fun at or protested their treatment at the hands of the local nobility. Along with the Daughters of Bilitis, a lesbian social and political group founded in San Francisco in 1955, they advocated a kind of radical normality in the face of the overwhelming consensus that homosexuals were deviant, pathological, and diseased. Looking at pictures of them now is like looking at gay activists by way of Leave It to Beaver. Yet Read More ›

From the Archives of the Century: The Century Foundation & NYC, Part I

In 2012, the Manuscripts and Archives Division acquired the records of the Century Foundation, a non-partisan research institute based in New York City previously known as the Twentieth Century Fund and originally founded as the Cooperative League. Since its founding, the Century Foundation (TCF) has supported the creation and dissemination of progressive policy ideas through the funding of books, position papers, pamphlets, task forces, and conferences that address current issues faced in the United States economy and democracy. The Century Foundation records document the governance of the Read More ›

Lydia Maria Child and Archival Research

By all accounts, Lydia Maria Child should be famous. An author, abolitionist, and advocate for human rights a full generation before that stance became widespread, Child remains an unsung hero—even though we continue to sing her lyrics to “Over the River and Through the Wood.” Read More ›

Culinary Delights in Lady Anne Percy’s Receipt Book

Around 1650, a teenage Lady Anne Percy compiled a collection of receipts now held in the NYPL's Manuscripts and Archives Division as part of its Whitney cookery collection. "Whitney MS 2" includes over four hundred medical and cookery recipes from friends, family, and contemporary printed cookbooks. Read More ›

The Battle of Antietam in Maps: An Interview with Researcher Jamesina Thatcher

Reconnecting the veterans' testimonies with physical structures and topography of the battlefield, Thatcher improved the understanding of troop movements during this important Civil War clash. Recently, I spoke with Thatcher about her project and the use of archival resources, including the Ezra A. Carman papers here in the Manuscripts and Archives Division.Read More ›

Presentación del Nican Mopohua y Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe

Esta es la traducción del blog en ingles de Thomas Lannon.Read More ›

The Nican Mopohua and Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe

Among the many treasures of the New York Public Library are documents created as the New World was explored and settled by Europeans and a hybrid culture emerged. James Lenox (1880-1880) whose books, manuscripts, and maps formed the great base for the Library's collection was interested in the history of the Americas. This blog post focuses on a set of documents long referred to as the Monumentos Guadalupanos, or Guadeloupean Monuments, and one document in particular, the Nican Mopohua. A facsimile edition of this historic manuscript is currently underway from SYL Creaciones Graficas and Read More ›

John Quinn and the 1913 Armory Show

The Armory Show is celebrating its centennial this year, which has been marked by international conferences and commemorative exhibitions. Originally devised as a way for the Association of American Painters and Sculptors to promote the output of its members, the show is remembered for introducing European Avant-Garde art to the American public. Lawyer and art collector John Quinn's social connections and financial support were essential in bringing about the 1913 Armory Show. An honorary member of that Association, Quinn held various roles within the artistic community—counsel, 

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What a Tool: The Hot Knife

Welcome to What a Tool, the inaugural post in a continuing series that will highlight some of the tools and equipment used in the Goldsmith Conservation Laboratory to perform conservation treatment on the NYPL's varied and unique collections. Episode one: the Hot Knife.

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