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Posts by Andrew Wilson

Found Staten Island Stories 3: Buffalo Bill's Wild West, Mariners' Harbor, 1886 and 1888

This is the third in a series of of posts highlighting some of the fascinating stories from the historical Staten Island newspapers now being digitized and uploaded to the web.  Find out more about this project at 

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Found Staten Island Stories 2: A Thrilling Balloon Trip, Stapleton, 1906

Albert Leo Stevens (March 9, 1877? – May 8, 1944) was a pioneering balloonist and parachute designer. He began making balloon ascensions in 1889 at age 12, and started manufacturing balloons and dirigibles in 1893. The design, for the Switlike parachute company of Trenton, N. J., is still in use today. Find out more about his parachute adventure! Read More ›

Staten Island Historical Newspapers Now Online

The New York Public Library just posted more than 9,000 pages from The Richmond County Advance online, covering the years 1886 to 1910. Find them at Read More ›

Found Staten Island Stories: Baby Cornelius at the No. 1 Chinese Kitchen

The story of Cornelius Vanderbilt (May 27, 1794–January 4, 1877), commonly known as Commodore Vanderbilt, is one of great riches. He was the richest man in America during his life and generally ranks No. 2 or No. 3 on the list of all-time richest Americans, behind John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie. This magnate was born on Staten Island–but where, exactly? Read More › 2011 Open Source Code Release


 For a basic overview of the 2010-2011 functionality see my previous blogpost 2010 (and for even earlier versions of summer reading websites at NYPL see Past Online Summer Reading Websites at NYPL )

The code for the NYC public libraries' 2011 version of their summer reading website 2011 has been released on 

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Past Online Summer Reading Programs at NYPL

Since the 1890s libraries around the U.S. have encouraged readers to join summer reading programs.  The programs eventually developed similar practices where libraries distributed paper book logs to readers, to track their summer reading.  Readers would often receive small toys, stickers, school supplies, book bags or other small items as incentives for participating.  Read More › 2010

SOMETHING NEW IN SUMMER READING 2010 At the end of summer 2009 NYPL set out to find ways that our online summer reading presence could give a bigger boost to our summer reading program. We conducted focus groups to see how we could capture the public’s interest online.  Our users were clear about what they wanted. They wanted gaming and social networking elements.  Logging-and-reviewing books was not enough.  They wanted fun! We needed a major redesign of to make the fun happen.  Brooklyn Public and Queens Library, our partners in the project, 

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Caddell Dry Dock: 100 Years Harborside

Many of the current marine businesses are hidden behind high walls and fences, visible only through their driveways. Driving by, one can occasionally catch a glimpse of a large propeller sitting in a yard or a ferryboat in dry dock but most of the work of the modern marine industries is hidden from public view. A new book seeks to change that. Readers can get a comprehensive overview of the past and present operations of New York Harbor’s oldest dry dock in Caddell Dry Dock: 100 Years Harborside. Read More ›

Port Richmond Branch Library, The First 50 Years: 1905-1955

This post is a revised and updated version of an article that originally appeared in The Staten Island Historian, Winter-Spring 2002, Volume 19, New Series 2 published by the Staten Island Historical Society.

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The Port Richmond Branch of The New York Public Library is rich with stories. It stands at 75 Bennett Street on the North Shore of Staten Island, N.Y., two blocks from the Kill Van Kull. A gift from the steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, the historic red brick building faces Veterans’ Park and P.S. 20 in the Port Richmond 

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At Home In Staten Island: A Tale of Two Literary Englishmen and Their Children

Charles Dickens & Charles Dickens Jr., Charles Mackay & Marie Corelli

A poem appeared in the weekly London periodical All The Year Round of April 11, 1869. It is called AT HOME IN STATEN ISLAND. There’s no author identified other than a “home-sick Englishman” There’s a bracketed paragraph at the beginning of the poem that seems inserted like an editor’s note. It describes the differences between the landscapes of England and Staten Island in the terms of one who is 

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Staten Island Aerial Photos from 1924

If you like the "Satellite View" feature in Google Maps then you should enjoy these aerial photographs of New York City. In 1924 Arthur Tuttle flew over the city snapping pictures of every building and landmark there was. His images of NYC rooftops clearly show the outline of all the buildings. The atlas containing his photos is called:

Sectional aerial maps of the City of New York / [photographed and assembled under the direction of the chief engineer, July 1st, 1924]. 

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Historical Staten Island Maps in the NYPL Digital Collections

There's a great selection of Staten Island maps and Atlases in the NYPL Digital Gallery. Using the "Pan and Zoom" feature the maps can be enlarged to the point where you can read street names and even the names of residents of individual houses. "Pan and Zoom" is not available on all maps, however.

Here are some of the maps and atlases available:

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