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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!

Head Shots: Doubles, Triples and Quads

These double and triple exposures made more memorable headshots which showed multiple aspects of the performer. At worst, they interfered with the casting directors' ability to imagine the performer in roles.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 ›

Head Shots: Dulcie Cooper

If you’ve never heard of Dulcie Cooper, don’t worry, there’s still time to get familiar: two portraits of her are on display in Head Shots through December 30.Read More ›

Alice Live! on Television

In the 1954 and 1955 seasons, two lavish productions of Alice in Wonderland were premiered on television. In each case, they were developed to attract families to the presenting series and their sponsors. 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 ›

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 ›

Joseph Hawley Papers Digitized

As part of the Early American Manuscripts Project, the Library has just digitized and made available online the Joseph Hawley papers. Hawley was a lawyer, legislator, and militia officer from Northampton, Massachusetts. 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 ›

Unexpected Sources: Slave Cloth in the Richard Henry Lee Letters

One of the most surprising letters I have recently come across is held in a small group of Richard Henry Lee correspondence: a passing reference that serves as an indication of slavery’s enormous economic influence.Read More ›

Kate Claxton Head Shots: This Week Only

The cartes de visite, cabinet photographs and stereograms of Kate Claxton, an intensely photogenic actress.Read More ›

Contact Strips and Head Shots

The advent of contact sheets was great for photography studios and of course, actors and their agents.Read More ›

Triptych Head Shots

Two unusual examples of triptychs, which combine headshots with character portraits.Read More ›

The Stereograph Headshot

When we started to think about an exhibition on Head Shots based on the Library for the Performing Arts’ collections, we discovered that almost every format in the history of photographic portraits was used as a headshot. Read More ›

George Chalmers and the History Wars of the American Revolutionary Era

George Chalmers was a sore loser. Born in Scotland in 1742, Chalmers came to Maryland in 1763 and practiced as an attorney until 1775. Hostilities between Britain and its colonies drove the ardent loyalist to leave North America for London. In England, Chalmers began amassing documents and writing histories about colonial North America and British imperial policy in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.Read More ›

Merce Cunningham Archive

The Jerome Robbins Dance Division is proud to announce that the Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation Inc, records, Additions is now open. This collection is 141.44 linear feet comprising 315 boxes, 41 tubes and 116.1 gigabytes of electronic records and digitized content. Read More ›

Bill Barvin's Location Photography

William "Bill" Barvin worked for over two decades as a location manager and scout for television and film, taking thousands of photos during the course of his career of New York and New Jersey streets, apartments, storefronts, and rooftops; bars, clubs, restaurants, and theaters; hotels, hospitals, laundromats, and churches.Read More ›

The Rope Maker of Boston and Samuel Adams

In 1797, Isaac Davis, a rope maker of Boston officially had his name changed. To help him stand out from the crowd of other Isaac Davises, he added a ‘P’ to his name as a middle initial: Isaac P. Davis.Read More ›

The Archive in the White Suit: The Tom Wolfe Papers Now Open

The collection, which was acquired by The Library in 2014, fills over 200 boxes and will be a vital resource for the study of Wolfe's writing process, his journalism-based research methods, and the creation of his hugely successful works.Read More ›

You Must Remember This: The Jeff Kisseloff Oral History Interviews

Between 1986 to 1988, Kisseloff traversed the city with a cassette recorder to interview former longshoreman, bootleggers, pickle makers, butchers, community activists, housewives, and writers in an attempt to capture stories of old Manhattan. Read More ›

Short-Term Research Fellowship: Timothy Leary as Illuminatus!

The Manuscripts and Archives Division at the New York Public Library has proof that Timothy Leary was in the Illuminati. Or, if he was not an ‘illuminated’ one himself, there is evidence in the Timothy Leary papers that he was in correspondence with representatives of this mythically ambiguous organization from the time of his incarceration in Folsom onwards. Read More ›
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