New-York Historical Society

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New-York Historical Society
New York Historical Society.jpg

Contact Information



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

Telephone:[1]  212-873-3400

Hours and holidays:[1]  As of February 1, 2011, all of the Museum galleries will be closed for renovations. The galleries will fully reopen on November 11, 2011.The Library at the New-York Historical Society will be closed from June 3 through September 9, 2011.  When the facility reopens, hours will be as follows:

Museum Store
Tuesday - Saturday: 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Sunday: 11:00 AM - 5:45 PM
Monday: CLOSED

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

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).

Digital Collections

  • 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




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

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

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.


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