Since The New York Public Library’s founding in 1895, its world-renowned research collections have provided the setting for an ever-unfolding story. It is a tale of curiosity, imagination, and persistence, told every day by the countless researchers who give voice to these vast and varied collections. Writers, scholars, artists, and innovators from around the world come to delve into NYPL’s deep and sweeping repository of more than 46 million items to create original work. These works then continue to ignite the imaginations of countless readers and inspire the next generation of creators.
This exhibition showcases a small but representative sample of original works that were produced using the Library’s unique and extensive resources, which are housed here at the 42nd Street library, as well as The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. From boundary-pushing books of nonfiction to popular, bestselling novels; from illuminating documentaries to brilliant collections of poetry; and from groundbreaking technological inventions to pen-and-ink drawings made earlier this year—all of these works have roots in the knowledge preserved in the Library’s collections.
To mark the 125 years since the Library’s founding—as well as the 20th anniversary of the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, NYPL’s premier fellowship program—this exhibition celebrates the generative power of primary source research, which the Library makes freely accessible to all. Projects like the ones seen here are undertaken at the Library every day. As you browse these halls, we invite you to consider: What story would you tell?
If you used NYPL collections and resources to create a work, please tell us about it.