New-York Historical Society

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Not to be confused with the New York State Historical Association (NYSHA) near Cooperstown.
New-York Historical Society
New York Historical Society.jpg

Contact Information[edit | edit source]



170 Central Park West at 77th Street
New York, New York 10024

Telephone:</ref>  212-873-3400

Hours and holidays:</ref>

Library Hours
Tuesday-Saturday: 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday - Monday: CLOSED
General Collections and Manuscript Dept.
(No appointment necessary)

Department of Prints, Photographs and Architectural Collections
(By appointment only) from Tuesday-Friday: 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Internet sites and databases:

  • Repository Internet site.
  • Repository catalog online. The Society is in the process of implementing a new library catalog, and some details are still being fine-tuned. In the interun contact the reference staff (212-485-9225 or 212-485-9226; e-mail reference) if you have any questions or are not finding what you want
  • On-Site Card Catalogs
    • Card catalogs available in the library's reading room provide access to portions of the manuscript collections not yet included in the library's online catalog.
    • Separate card catalogs also exist for the newspaper and sheet music collections.
    • non-electronic finding aids, a published guide to the manuscript collection, and printed inventories of circus ephemera, church records and extensive vertical files
    • Repository database. The library's menu collection can be searched using databases available in the library's reading room.

Collection Description[edit | edit source]

Collection strengths include local history of New York City and State; colonial history; the Revolutionary War; American military and naval history; religions and religious movements, 18th and 19th century; the Anglo-American slave trade and conditions of slavery in the United States; the Civil War; American biography and genealogy; American art and art patronage; the development of American architecture from the late 18th to the present; and 19th and 20th century portraiture and documentary photographs of New York City.

The collections include 2 million manuscripts, 500,000 photographs, 400,000 prints, 350,000 books and pamphlets, 150,000 architectural drawings, 20,000 broadsides, 15,000 printed maps, 10,000 newspapers and 10,000 dining menus. Among the historic icons are manuscript maps drawn by George Washington’s cartographers in the field, Robert Erskine and Simeon DeWitt (1778-1783); Napoleon’s authorization for the Louisiana Purchase (1803); and Grant’s handwritten terms of surrender to Lee (1865).

Also includes partially restricted archives of the Children's Aid Society of New York, and the New York Foundling Hospital, both major contributors to the orphan train movement which from 1853-1930 "placed out" 200,000 orphans, abandoned, or neglected children to farm families in 48 states, and Canada.

Digital Collections[edit | edit source]

  • Manuscript Collections Relating to Slavery
  • Children’s Aid Society Images
  • Brooklyn Revealed 
  • Marion Mahony Griffin’s The Magic of America 
  • Examination Days: The New York African Free School Collection
  • Civil War Treasures from the New-York Historical Society 
  • Witness to the Early American Experience
  • Alexander Hamilton Digital Project

Tips[edit | edit source]


Guides[edit | edit source]

The Society has created research guides for the following topocs: the American Revolution, Architecture, Newspapers, Military History, Recommended Websites, NYC Q and A, Slavery and the Underground Railroad

Alternate Repositories[edit | edit source]

If you cannot visit or find a source at the New-York Historical Society, a similar source may be available at one of the following.

Overlapping Collections

  • New York Public Library Branches over 90 in New York City.
  • New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, national in scope. Over 100 million name database, of vital records, genealogies, journals, over 200,000 books, 100,000 microfilms, and over 20 million manuscripts with emphasis on New England and New York since the 1600s.
  • National Archives at New York City, censuses,, military, pensions, bounty land, photos, passenger indexes, New York port and shipping, naturalizations, inventions.
  • National Archives at Boston (that is Waltham), censuses,, military, pensions, bounty land, photos, passenger indexes, naturalizations, African Americans, Indians.
  • Gemeentearchief (Amsterdam Municipal Archives) early Dutch notarial records regarding New York.
  • Children's Aid Society, NYC, an orphan train sending institution. Archives searches ($) for adoptions, and orphan train riders. NYHS houses some of their records.
  • New York Foundling Hospital, an orphan train sending institution, can do records research for close relatives only. NYHS houses some of their records.

Similar Collections

  • New York State Historical Association: the Association in Cooperstown, New York has an art museum and a research ribrary. The library’s collections, including over 88,000 books and bound periodicals, specialize in American history, material culture, museology, and art. Holdings on New York’s state and local history, agricultural history, 19th century life, and family history are particularly well represented.

Neighboring Collections

  • New York Public Library Genealogy Division has an outstanding collection of American history at national, state and local levels; international genealogy and heraldry in Roman alphabets; Dorot Jewish collection; photos; New York censuses, directories, and vital records.
  • Museum on the City of New York: Among its offerings are over 50,000 images are now available on the museum's website site. It Offers educational programs about the history of New York City for students and educators.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Source 1.

Category:New York Archives and Libraries]]