New York Public Library

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New York Public Library
"Fortitude" Lion and entrance, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, New York Public Library.
New York Public Library Rose Main Reading Room.  Photo by David Iliff.

Contact Information[edit | edit source]



Irma and Paul Milstein Division of U.S. History, Local History and Genealogy
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street, Room 121
New York, NY 10018-2788

Telephone:[1]  212-930-0828

Hours and holidays:[1]

Monday-Saturday open 10:00 a.m.
Mon., Thu., Fri., Sat. close 5:45 p.m.
Tues., Weds. close 7:45 p.m.
Upcoming closings: click here.

Directions, maps, and public transportation:

  • Red 1 2 3  to 42nd Street Times Square. Walk two blocks east to Fifth Avenue.
  • Blue A C E  to 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue. Walk four blocks east to Fifth Avenue.
  • Orange B D F M  to 42nd Street Bryant Park. Walk one block east to Fifth Avenue.
  • Yellow N R Q W  to 42nd Street Times Square. Walk two blocks east to Fifth Avenue.
  • Green 4 5 6  to 42nd Street Grand Central. Walk two blocks west to Fifth Avenue.
  • Purple 7  to Fifth Avenue.
  • Buses: MTA buses M1 M2 M3 M4 M6 M7 M42 M104 or Q32 to Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street.

Internet sites and databases:

Collection Description[edit | edit source]

The New York Public Library's collections is one of the largest in the world with over 14 million titles. Books requested in the Bill Blass Public Catalog Room are delivered to the Rose Reading Room. The library has a limited number of public computers for which users may sign up for timed use. All Divisions have computers with catalog and database access, including the most popular genealogical databases. Wii-Fi is free throughout the building during regular operating hours for visitors' personal computers and devices.

The Irma and Paul Milstein Division of U.S. History, Local History and Genealogy has an outstanding collection of American history at national, state and local levels; international genealogy and heraldry in Roman alphabets; photos; New York censuses, directories, and vital records. The Milstein Division acquires materials beyond the local region. The United States town, city, county and state history collection is national in scope.[1] The open shelf dictionaries, encyclopedias, biographies, and indexes alone include 25,000 volumes.

The Milstein Microforms Reading Room gives access to New York State censuses, New York City directories, and indexes to New York City vital records (births late 19th century-1909; deaths late 19th century-1948; and marriages 1869-1937), coroner's inquisitions 1823-1898, divorce index 1784-1910, 1890 New York City “Police” Census, New York City historical newspapers, NYC land and property records 1654-1857, 18th and 19th century wills for many counties.

In addition, the Rare Books, Manuscripts and Archives Division, 3rd floor, has about 30,000 feet (9,144 meters) of archival papers of individuals, families, and organizations mostly from the New York area, and over 130,000 rare titles from Europe, England, and the Americas.

The Art, Prints and Photographs Division, 3rd floor, has 200,000 prints.

The New York Public Library now houses the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society's collection. All of their collection has been cataloged and is located in the New York Public Library's online catalog.

Tips[edit | edit source]

  • Access to Rare Books, Manuscripts and Archives Division. Arents Collection; Berg Collection; Pforzheimer Collection; Print Collection; Photography Collection; and Spencer Collection requires a library card, photo identification, and an application. You can submit applications in each collection's reading room or via their webpage in some cases.
  • The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is located at 515 Malcolm X Boulevard (135th St and Malcolm X Blvd) in Manhattan.
  • The Science and Industry Business Library is located at 188 Madison Avenue (34th St and Madison Ave).
  • The Library for the Performing Arts is located at Lincoln Center.
  • Researchers must have a valid NYPL Library Card to request materials.

Guides[edit | edit source]

  • Sam P. Williams, Guide to the Research Collections of the New York Public Library (Chicago: American Library Association, 1975). (FHL Collection Book 974.71 A3w). WorldCat entry.
  • New York Public Library. Local History and Genealogy Division, United States Local History Catalog: a Modified Shelf List Arranged Alphabetically by State, and Alphabetically by Locality within Each State, 18 volumes and four suppelments. (Boston, Mass.: G.K. Hall, 1974). (FHL Collection Large Q Book 974.71 A3nd). WorldCat entry.

Alternate Repositories[edit | edit source]

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

Overlapping Collections

Similar Collections

  • Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, holds 450 computers, 3,400 databases, 3.1 million microforms, 4,500 periodicals, 310,000 books of worldwide family and local histories, civil, church, immigration, ethnic, military, and records of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  • Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, Indiana, premier periodical collection, genealogies, local histories, databases, military, censuses, directories, passenger lists, ethnic collections, and Canadians.
  • Library of Congress, Washington, DC, Local History and Genealogy Reading Room is part of the world's largest library including 50,000 genealogies, 100,000 local histories, manuscripts, microfilms, maps, newspapers, photographs, books, strong in North American, British Isles, and German sources.
  • Newberry Library, Chicago, genealogies, local histories, censuses, military, land, indexes, vital records, court, and tax records mostly from the Mississippi Valley, eastern seaboard, Canada, & British Isles.
  • Mid-Continent Public Library Midwest Genealogy Center, Independence, MO, national censuses/indexes, 80,000 family histories, 100,000 local histories, 565,000 microfilms, 7,000 maps, and newspapers.
  • National Archives I, Washington DC, census, pre-WWI military service & pensions, passenger lists, naturalizations, passports, federal bounty land, homesteads, bankruptcy, ethnic sources, prisons.
  • Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, 85,000 volumes about the Jewish Holocaust, largest yizkor book collection.

Neighboring Collections

Sources[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "Irma and Paul Milstein Division of U.S. History, Local History and Genealogy" in New York Public Library at (accessed 30 March 2017).