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Behind the Scenes of the Milstein Suspense Trailer


NYPL Milstein Suspense Trailer
February 27, 2012

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History has secrets... but secrets don’t stay hidden if you know where to look...

The Library's Milstein Division staff are very excited to present a movie trailer-style promotional video, which debuted this week on YouTube. We've loved the videos that other NYPL divisions and neighborhood libraries have made — especially Jefferson Market Library’s Haunted Library video — and were inspired to make our own. After writing the script, we contacted some great people in the film and television industry, and they were willing to help us out.

Our hero, played by actor Ronan Babbitt, uses several Library resources to help him discover his family secrets. We first see him receive Library materials from our page, Sarah, which means he filled in a call slip after consulting the Library's catalog. Our hero then flips through the card catalog drawers. Since we no longer use the old card catalog drawers for our collections, what you will find here are three sets of indexes: one for coats of arms, one for images of passenger ships, and one of New York City illustrations.

Our hero also uses many of the Library's visual collections and ephemera, including postcards, New York City clippings files, and the Scrapbook of Original U.S. Army Shoulder Patches. He makes a note to look for a Coroner’s Inquisition. (Coroner's inquisitions were conducted in cases when a person met a sudden, violent, unnatural or suspicious death.) Some of the interesting books that our hero consults include Biographical Sketches of Loyalists of the American Revolution, The Confederate Soldier in the Civil War and books on heraldry.

We see that he has picked up the latest issue of NOW, the Library's guide to NYPL programs, classes, and events, and he circles the class description for Clues From Family Photos so that he will remember to attend.

Our hero consults many of the Library's online resources, including the Genealogy Research Tips: Breaking Through Brick Walls and Getting Past Dead Ends post from the Milstein blog channel. He uses Fold3 to view images of the Vietnam War and Matthew Brady’s Civil War photos, Ancestry Library Edition to check out the U.S. Naturalization Index, and HeritageQuest to search people in PERSI. His search in PERSI must have been a success since we see him reference several genealogy and local history periodicals, including Pennsylvania Legacies, Kentucky Ancestors, Oregon Historical Quarterly, and The Genealogists’ Magazine.

Genealogy and history research is detective work. Researchers are often trying to solve a mystery, and everyone’s mystery is different. What will you find?


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Video "Trailer" on the Milstein Geneology Division

Were any actual NYPL librarians used in the filming of the video on the Milstein Division of Geneology?

Yes, all of the librarians in

Yes, all of the librarians in the video are actual librarians of the department. In addition, all clerks and pages featured are also clerks and pages of the department.

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