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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!

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 ›

A Melville Marginalia Mystery

A researcher's reading of erased marginalia provides insight to Melville's thoughts on religion.Read More ›

The Mystery Shakespeare Plot

A clue to a mysterious performance that at the time may have been "the finest spectacle that has ever been presented on the American stage."Read More ›

Violet Oakley: An Interview with Dr. Bailey Van Hook

Dr. Bailey Van Hook recently published the first full-length biography of artist Violet Oakley. In this interview, she discusses her work and what made Oakley an interesting subject, as well as her research in our archival collections.Read More ›

Falstaff On the Road: Or, Why Dickens Was Right About America

Two prime examples of actors and actor/managers who based their later careers on performing Sir John Falstaff.Read More ›

Recently Digitized Early American Manuscript Collections, March 2016

Recently digitized collections of early American manuscripts.Read More ›

O Romeo, Romeo

Why is Margaret Mather's 1882 performance as Juliet, in William Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet,' so well remembered? Perhaps this illustration of the balcony scene, apparently in her own hand, has something to do with it. Read More ›
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