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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!

Diamonds in the Rough: Barbara Epstein at the New York Review of Books

Epstein was one of the founders of the New York Review of Books and its co-editor. Her files, dating from 1963 to 2003, document 40 years spent shaping and improving the Review. Read More ›

Informed Archives: The Straphangers Campaign and the NYC Subway System

Much attention has been paid lately to the MTA during what has been termed the “Summer of Hell.” Instead of simply bemoaning the current state of affairs, we can look to a citizen’s group that has been actively working toward improving the City transit system for almost forty years.Read More ›

Turn Around, Bright Eyes: Henry Draper and the 1878 Eclipse

The total solar eclipse which crossed from Alaska to Texas spurred many to make the trip West. Dr. Henry Draper assembled a group who watched the eclipse from the railroad outpost of Rawlins, in the Wyoming Territory.Read More ›

Total Eclipse of the Art: Trouvelot and the 1878 Eclipse

For Americans in the post-Civil War years, the most iconic images of the cosmos were largely the work of one man: Étienne Leopold Trouvelot (1827-1895), an artist and amateur astronomer who produced incredible images of the heavens.Read More ›

Voices Buried in the Ash Heap: Private Waste Disposers, Scavengers, and the 1939 World’s Fair

Studying the history of garbage teaches you that treasures can often be found in unexpected places. This was certainly true of my research at The New York Public Library.Read More ›

Edith Magonigle and the Art War Relief

Called Art War Relief, members from a group of art societies formed a coalition under the auspices of the American Red Cross.Read More ›

Informed Archives: The Pentagon Papers and the Fight to Know

The celebration of the Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism prompted an exploration of our collections to celebrate the work and achievements of the Fourth Estate.Read More ›

The New York Public Library, 1911–13, as Reported by John H. Fedeler

John H. Fedeler accepted the position to manage The New York Public Library's "Central Building" in 1910. This would be a 24/7 job. With Fedeler's living quarters inside the Library, the question to ask is, "How did Fedeler handle his job during the early years?"Read More ›

Informed Archives: The Environmental Action Coalition and the Birth of Earth Day

In January 2017, thousands gathered on Fifth Avenue and the surrounding area for the Women’s March. But this wasn’t the first time that this street was the home for a massive demonstration: almost fifty years ago, it was a primary thoroughfare for the first Earth Day celebration.Read More ›

Celebrate Black History Month with Our Online Exhibitions

Check out four of the top online exhibitions highlighting African Americans in honor of Black History Month.Read More ›

Points of Entry: The Diaries of John Baxter Black

There are so many variables: who Black was, where he was and when, what he was doing with whom when he was there, and—most of all— what he had to say about it. Read More ›

"Brother, Can You Spare a Dime"

A look at the White Studio photograph from the 1932 edition of the revue Americana. Read More ›

Sympathy for a Spy

A sympathetic account of the execution of British spy John André, written by an American Army officer.Read More ›

J. Rosamond Johnson and "Lift Every Voice"

The National Museum of African American History & Culture opens on September 24, 2016. The Smithsonian has decided to name the celebration “Lift Every Voice,” borrowing the phrase from the song known as America’s Black National Anthem.Read More ›

Pearl Primus in "Strange Fruit"

The Library for the Performing Arts’s exhibition on political cabaret focuses on the three series associated with Isaiah Sheffer, whose Papers are in the Billy Rose Theatre Division.Read More ›

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, Summer 1803

Health and disease in early New York City.Read More ›

Photography Permitted: Opening Up the Dance Oral History Project Transcripts

We deposit into our archives a transcript of every interview conducted as part of the Oral History Project. These are nearly all available for use on-site at the library.Read More ›

Are You Spoken For? An Ad Campaign and A Cultural Stereotype

The Billy Rose Theatre Division at the Library for the Performing Arts has an extensive collection that documents the development of television, including many examples of pitches made by networks to specific companies, like AT&T or Coty Cosmetics, outlining how each network’s programming would be a match for the company’s ideal consumer. Read More ›

Celebrating the Stamp Act's Repeal, May 19, 1766

One Philadelphian's account of the celebrations accompanying the repeal of the Stamp Act in 1766, and what it tells us about the coming of the American Revolution.Read More ›
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