The Milstein Division of United States History, Local History and Genealogy maintains a rich and varied collection of visual materials and ephemera some of which are not cataloged or indexed. Nearly every important topic in United States and New York City history is represented in this collection, which includes photographs, postcards, scrapbooks, pamphlets and clippings.
Beginning in 2005, a vast selection of Milstein Division visual materials became available through the NYPL Digital Gallery. The Digital Gallery is the New York Public Library's image database, developed to provide free and open online access to thousands of images from the original and rare holdings of The Library.
Highlights included in the NYPL Digital Gallery are:
- Photographic Views of New York City, 1870s-1970s plus Supplement More than 54,000 New York City archival photographs (and their captioned versos) from the 1870s-1970s arranged by borough and street; the majority are exterior building views and neighborhood scenes from the 1910s-1940s.
- Collection of photographs of New York City, 1931-1942
- Apartment houses of the metropolis plus Supplements (1908-1913)
- Fifth Avenue, New York, from start to finish (1911)
- Staten Island post cards
While the NYPL Digital Gallery contains a large portion of the collection, many visual and ephemera materials are not available online. Here is a synopsis of some of the most important of these unique collections.
Lloyd Acker Real Estate Photographs: This microfilmed collection of thousands of photos mostly dates from circa 1940, and includes images of buildings at many addresses in the city (mainly but not exclusively Manhattan and the Bronx).
Eugene L. Armbruster Collection Of Long Island Photographs: The 5,800 photos in this collection were taken during the 1920's. They show a largely rural, pre-suburban Long Island.
New York City Clippings Files: Articles from a wide variety of New York City newspapers and magazines. Most are of fairly recent vintage (1950's to the present), but some date from the early 20th century or even the late 19th century. Topics range from Advertising to Zoos, with many files for New York City streets and neighborhoods. Popular subjects include Parks, Transportation and Buildings.
New York City Landmarks Preservation Reports: We have many (but not all) Landmarks Preservation Commission Reports for buildings and districts, which have achieved landmark status. Some include images and diagrams.
Real Estate Brochure Collection: Images and information for hundreds of large New York City (principally Manhattan) office and apartment buildings in the form of original real estate prospectuses and pamphlets.
New York City Scrapbooks: This collection of images (many pre-photography) includes numerous locations and subjects. Must use microfilm surrogate; originals for reproduction only.
United States Postcard Collection: A collection of many thousands of postcards, old and new. The New York City portion consists of a huge variety of subjects, including many vintage New York City restaurant postcards.
Local History Ephemera n.c. (not catalogued) Collection: Pamphlets, brochures, etc. for many U.S. localities. New York City section includes many subjects, including an extensive collection of New York City campaign and election material.
New York City Illustrations File Card Index: Indexes thousands of New York City photos and other images appearing in books in our collection. (inactive)
U.S. History Illustrations Card Index: Indexes images, portraits, events in U.S. history, which are reproduced in our collection. (inactive)