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Blog Posts by Subject: History of North America

Hannah Lawrence Schieffelin and Women's Experiences in Revolutionary America

A New York woman's interactions with women of different cultures on the northern frontier of the American Revolution.Read More ›

Elizabeth De Hart Bleecker Diary, April 30, 1800

The tense New York State elections of 1800, as seen through the diary of Elizabeth De Hart Bleecker.Read More ›

The Witch: A Reading and Resource List

Already being touted as one of the best horror films of the year, The Witch is the story of a New England family that slowly begins to fall apart when they are banished from their Pilgrim community. Writer and Director Robert Eggers recently mentioned in an interview that he used the library's resources to do research for the film.Read More ›

Live from the Reading Room: Nathan Woodard to Alice Childress

A love letter from musician and composer Nathan Woodard to his wife and creative collaborator Alice Childress.Read More ›

Politicizing the Federal Courts in Early America

We often bemoan the recent politicization of the federal courts and especially appointments to the Supreme Court, but this has been a source of political strife since the creation of the federal judiciary. The judicial politics of the Jeffersonian era help explain why the Supreme Court remains such a charged issue in our own time.Read More ›

Live from the Reading Room: Aaron Douglas to Alta Sawyer Douglas

Today’s episode features a memorable love note from leading Harlem Renaissance painter, illustrator, and graphic artist Aaron Douglas to his wife and life partner Alta Sawyer Douglas, an esteemed educator and Harlemite. Read More ›

Presidential Biographies for Presidents' Day

Here is a list of biographies that will take the reader well beyond high school history and National Gallery portraits to understand these men as anything but clear-cut themselves. Read More ›

Elizabeth De Hart Bleecker Diary, February 8, 1800

Elizabeth De Hart Bleecker lived through a tumultuous period in the history of labor in New York City. Here is a page from her diary, 216 years ago today.Read More ›

Live from the Reading Room: Arturo Schomburg to Langston Hughes

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 ›

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 ›
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