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Blog Posts by Subject: History of North America

Live from the Reading Room: Correspondence Episode 1

Today’s letter features correspondence between Arturo Alfonso Schomburg and Langston Hughes. In the excerpt below, Schomburg speaks with Hughes regarding acquisitions for The Division of Negro Literature, History and Prints—the forerunner to today’s Schomburg Center.Read More ›

Hannah Lawrence Schieffelin's Journey Through Revolutionary America

On September 15, 1780, Hannah Lawrence Schieffelin “abandoned the paternal mansion that so long bounded my wishes,” boarded a “small vessel,” and left her home in New York for Quebec. Her narrative describes events, peoples, and places far removed from the center of the American Revolutionary struggle.Read More ›

The Diary of Elizabeth De Hart Bleecker, 1799-1806

Periodically, for the next year, we will write blog posts featuring a single entry, or a series of entries, from the Bleecker diary: a source from and about New York City in its formative era.Read More ›

Silas Deane: Reading and Parenting in Revolutionary America

Political elites are well represented in archival collections. One of the great virtues for historians is that a lot of their family correspondence survives, though it is not always included in edited volumes that focus on political events. Through these papers we can glimpse family life at an emotional level.Read More ›

Alice in Wonderland Literary/Educator Events on December 12 (PD Credit Available)

Join us as we celebrate the 150 year anniversary of Alice in Wonderland with two special events at the Library.Read More ›

Top 9 Documents from the Boston Committee of Correspondence Records

The BCC records is an important resource for understanding the American Revolution. But it is also a massive and unwieldy one. To make things easier, I've put together a list of nine important and representative documents from the BCC records, which, taken together, offer a rough outline of the BCC's activities and functions during the 1770s and 1780s, as well as a sense of the Committee's place in the larger story of the American Revolution.Read More ›

The United States of Fredonia?

“It was a great oversight” of the Constitution’s framers that they did not give the United States a “proper name.” Read More ›

Founding Firefighters: Volunteer Firefighters and Early American Constitutional History

The Chelsea Fire Club formed in late 1788 to protect the people and buildings of Norwich, Connecticut from being destroyed by fire. The records of the Fire Club reveal far more about how early Americans grappled with the challenge of self-government than about firefighting. Read More ›

Reintroducing the Boston Committee of Correspondence Records

Looking back on the Revolution in 1815, John Adams remarked that “The History of the United States never can be written” without the records of the Boston Committee of Correspondence. Read More ›

Traveling the Roads of Early America with Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson recorded, measured, and calculated things obsessively. He kept copious notes in his account book on the distances he traversed and the roads he traveled.Read More ›

HAMILTON: The Archive

In the musical Hamilton, which opened last night on Broadway, George Washington tells Alexander Hamilton, “You have no control...who tells your story.” At the New York Public Library, we preserve the artifacts that allow such stories to be told, and we have an especially strong collection of archives related to the women and men whose lives inspired the characters in the musical.Read More ›

Now Screening: New Electronic Resources, July 2015

Overview of National Geographic Virtual Library, Nineteenth Century U.S. Newspapers, and Indigenous Peoples: North America.Read More ›

Traces from Jefferson's Account Book: The Hemings Family

The New York Public Library has just digitized Jefferson’s manuscript account book from 1791 to 1803. The volume is basically a day-by-day running record of Jefferson’s transactions. The account book offers a glimpse of how Jefferson interacted with his world on a daily basis.Read More ›

An Incommensurable Grief... Louis Moreau Gottschalk on Lincoln's Assassination

This week marks the 150th anniversary of the final battles of the Civil War, followed all too closely by the anniversary of President Lincoln’s assassination. The Library for the Performing Arts has materials that document this time period.Read More ›

Conflict/Resolution and Changing Geographic Realities in the Peace of the Map Division

Come to the Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division to view three examples that demonstrate the role that maps play, years after their informational current-events function, in documenting histories of changing boundaries.Read More ›

Children's Literary Salon in Retrospect: Native Fiction on October 4, 2014

Stacy Whiteman and Cheryl Klein are editors, and Joseph Bruchac and Eric Gansworth are Native authors. It was interesting to see the interchange between authors and editors during the program. Read More ›

The Star Spangled Banner 1814-2014

October 2014 marks the 200th anniversary of the first publication of “The Star Spangled Banner.” There are only eleven copies of the first edition known to exist, and the Music Division of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts is fortunate and proud to own one of those copies.Read More ›

TeachNYPL Summer 2014: Lists for Lesson Planning - Primary Sources and the Common Core

From July 28-Aug 1 we welcomed our second group of teachers from NYC or our second annual Education Innovation @ NYPL Summer Institute.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 ›

TeachNYPL: Primary Sources and the Common Core Summer Institute for Teachers Jul 28-Aug 1, 2014

Love history and literature? Original archival documents? Are you interested in new ways to incorporate primary source materials into your lesson plans? NYPL is looking for you!Read More ›
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