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Posts from Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

Imagining Ichabod Crane: Illustrated Editions in Rare Books

While the initial printing of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow contained no illustrations, the tale has since inspired many artists to create works evoking the strangely funny but frightful events in the story.Read More ›

Medium Rare: Ghostly Stories from Rare Books

On Halloween, we pull back the curtain between real and unreal, reveling in the spooky, mysterious, and inexplicable. What better way to celebrate the holiday than communing with the spirits and ghosts who reach out to us from the pages of the Rare Book Division?Read More ›

Sharing Is Caring: A Photographic Locket of Mr. and Mrs. General Tom Thumb

The Photography Collection has recently acquired a rare brass locket containing twelve miniature albumen prints of the famous couple made shortly after their wedding. Read More ›

Podcast: Jane Smiley on Living with Characters

The New York Public Library Podcast brings you the best of the Library's author talks, live events, and other bookish curiosities. In our most recent episode, author Jane Smiley visited NYPL for Books at Noon, where she discussed the origins of her trilogy The Last Hundred Years, the hard part about living with characters for one hundred years of their lives, and her middle school reading tastes. Read More ›

Conducting Genealogical Research Using Newspapers

Historical newspapers are useful tools for history and genealogy research. They can be searched for ancestors’ death notices/obituaries, personal announcements and celebrations, community involvement, social news and gossip, lodge and club news, employment ads, real estate transactions, legal notices, casualty lists, military news, criminal activity, and much more.Read More ›

Class Act: Researching New York City Schools with Local History Collections

The history of education in New York City is fraught with strikes, moral stewardship, ethnic discrimination, caritas, religious debate, political bias, Fame, and Welcome Back, Kotter. This guide will serve as a springboard for researching primary and secondary school history at NYPL and elsewhere.Read More ›

Africans in India: Then and Now

The Schomburg Center's exhibition Africans in India: A Rediscovery recently opened in New Delhi, India's capital, against a backdrop of racist attacks against Africans. The contrast between the African experience of yesterday and that of today could not have been greater and the exhibition could not have come at a more appropriate time.Read More ›

Happy Birthday, Moby-Dick!

In honor of the White Whale’s birthday, I have decided—like Herman Melville’s own sub-sub-librarian—to share “a glancing bird’s-eye view of what has been promiscuously said, thought, fancied, and sung of Leviathan” since Moby-Dick’s first appearance in 1851.Read More ›

Spies Among Us: World War I and The American Protective League

In the wake of the United States’ war declaration against Germany on April 6, 1917, dozens of extralegal vigilance organizations such as the Knights of Liberty, American Rights League, Boy Spies of America, American Defense Society, Sedition Slammers, National Security League, and the Terrible Threateners sought to ensure Americans’ full participation in the war effort, often through measures of intimidation, harassment, surveillance, and outright violence. 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 ›

Journey to the Center of the Library: Rare Books and Provenance

Columbus’s voyage made me think of the voyages our books take before arriving on the shelves of the New York Public Library. Who printed it? Who owned it previously? From whom did we buy it? Researchers are often interested in these questions, which all attempt to uncover a book’s provenance. In the Rare Book Division we look for clues, both within the book and in secondary sources, to answer questions of provenance and understand a book’s complete voyage.Read More ›

Ask the Author: Mark Strand

Mark Strand answers our six questions about reading.Read More ›

Before Kermit, There Was Catesby

My devotion to Kermit has led to a love for frogs in print as well, from Arnold Lobel's Frog and Toad books to Ken Kimura's 999 Frogs. And whenever I examine illustrated natural histories in the Rare Book Division where I work, I'm always on the lookout for Kermit's amphibious ancestors.Read More ›

Fashion, The High Life, and "The Duties of Married Females": 19th Century Fashion-Plate Magazines

The Art & Architecture Collection has a large collection of women’s (and some men’s) 19th century fashion-plate periodicals. While French fashion dominated the 19th century this post features a selection of magazines from England, America and Sweden. Read More ›

Where in New York is Sesame Street?

Can I tell you how to get to Sesame Street? Well, I can try. You can get to the Sesame Street Subway Stop by the A, B, 1, or 2 trains, which if you check any MTA map, do not intersect at any current station.Read More ›

Sculpting White Wax: Fatherhood in the Middle Ages

Simon R. Doubleday is researching King Alfonso and the history of fatherhood in the Allen Room.Read More ›

400 Years of Banned Books

September 21 – 27 is Banned Books Week, when libraries and other members of the book community support the freedom to read and raise awareness of challenges to this freedom. Sadly, the banning of books is not a new phenomenon—while Catcher in the Rye or Huckleberry Finn come to mind, you can find books banned as early as the sixteenth century in the Rare Book Division.Read More ›

A Digitized History of The New York Public Library

The History of the New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations provides a thorough account of 19th century New York City libraries, their consolidation into a unified system, and the construction of NYPL’s central library (now known as the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building).Read More ›

Dance Your Way Through Fall

Summer is almost formally over and our fall work is already in full swing. There are a plethora of events at the New York Public Library revolving around dance to take you through the end of the year, including a conversation with choreographer and MacArthur Foundation Fellow Alexei Ratmansky and new Saturday brunch events at the Library for the Performing Arts! Get them on your calendar now!Read More ›

Ask the Author: Joseph O'Neill and Hal Foster

For this installment, we're doubling down with Joseph O'Neill and Hal Foster before they discuss O'Neill's new novel The Dog, which he wrote during his Cullman Fellowship in 2009-2010. Read More ›
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