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Out of the Box

This blog channel explores the library’s world-class and ever-growing archival holdings. We’ll examine these unique materials and the works produced by researchers consulting them. Open the box and delve into the archives with us!

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 ›

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 ›

Recent Activity in the Raphael Lemkin Papers

To honor April as Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month, this post recounts recent efforts to bring more attention to the Polish philologist and international lawyer who coined the word genocide. The Raphael Lemkin papers have been safely held at NYPL since 1982. We expect more people will realize the significance of this collection as scholars, researchers, and the general public discover the life and achievement of Raphael Lemkin (1900-1959.)Read More ›

Classroom Connections: Reconstructing Reconstruction (Gr. 11-12)

This Unit, for Grades 11-12, is a historical analysis of how school textbooks tell the story of the Post-Civil War Era, focusing on the evolution of how U.S. History textbooks interpret the history of Reconstruction.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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Classroom Connections: World War II and the Double V Campaign (Gr. 10-12)

"The Pittsburgh Courier drew its inspiration for the Double V campaign from a letter by James G. Thompson of Wichita, Kansas, published in the January 31, 1942 issue. Thompson, in his letter titled 'Should I Sacrifice to Live 'Half American?',' advocated for a 'double VV' for a dual victory over enemies to the country and enemies—opposed to equality, justice, and democracy—at home. In its next issue, on February 7, the Courier displayed Double V drawings emphasizing the theme 'Democracy, At Home, Abroad.' The paper announced the Double V campaign the next week, declaring 

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Classroom Connections: 'New York, Then & Now' Immigration to Washington Heights/Inwood (Gr. 6-8)

The story of immigration to America is a rich tapestry whose opposing threads, oddly for how much they reject each other's reality, hang together as one. It outrages us and gives us hope in frighteningly equal measure.

Nowhere is this truer than New York City, a city of extremes in every sense. The community known as Washington Heights/Inwood originally spanned from 135th Street north to the top end of Manhattan Island, surrounded by the Hudson River on the west and the East River with Spuyten Duyvil's deadly currents in between. Its land is the highest ground in 

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Classroom Connections: The Role of Social Darwinism in European Imperialism (Gr. 9-10)

In order to provide 9th and 10th grade students an opportunity to explore this topic further, we have assembled a collection of primary and secondary source readings to be analyzed and discussed as part of common core-aligned Social Studies units on either the "New Imperialism" of the 19th century or the rise of Fascism in the 20th century.Read More ›

#TeachNYPL Pinterest Board

Did you know that we're on Pinterest?

Check out our Pinterest Board—TeachNYPL—for educational resources from the New York Public Library including:

Finds from the Archives—letters from Harry Houdini to NYPL President John Shaw Billings, Civil War diaries, the infamous Newgate Calendar (the 'chronicles of ... Read More ›

Classroom Connections: 'Two Wars,' African Americans, Emancipation, and the American Revolution (Gr. 6-8)

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”—Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776

The American Revolution symbolizes a critical moment in the history of the United States, and the Declaration of Independence is the key symbol of that moment. With its rhetoric of freedom and equality, the Declaration of Independence inspired the colonists to courageously fight for their rights. 

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Classroom Connections: 'Grace Aguilar's American Journey,' A Common Core-aligned Research Experience (Gr. 11-12)

By 1900, New York City and the United States were undergoing waves of dramatic, traumatic change. Industrialization, Reconstruction and a surge of immigrants from across the globe were remaking every aspect of life, from transportation to education, leisure, labor, race relations and the status of women. One response to the dislocations and turmoil of this era was the reform efforts that we now classify as the “Progressive Movement.”

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Classroom Connections: 'Little Lionhearts,' Young People in African-American Civil Rights Protests (Gr. 6-8)

"I could not move because history had me glued to the seat. It felt like Sojourner Truth's hands were pushing down on one shoulder, and Harriet Tubman's hand pushing down on another shoulder" —Claudette Colvin (Interview on Democracy Now, March 2013)

As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, and when we typically consider the 

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