New-York Historical Society

New-York Historical Society Established in 1804, the New-York Historical Society comprises New York’s first museum and a national

Zora Neale Hurston was a luminary of the Harlem Renaissance but was relatively unknown and very poor when she died. ⁣⁣⁣⁣...
01/08/2024

Zora Neale Hurston was a luminary of the Harlem Renaissance but was relatively unknown and very poor when she died. ⁣⁣
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Hurston was born in January of 1891. As both a writer and anthropologist, she committed her life to studying and celebrating African American folklore and culture. ⁣⁣
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Hurston moved to New York after a Harlem-based magazine presented her with a literary award. From there she formed a network, earned a scholarship, and studied English and Anthropology at Barnard College. ⁣⁣
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She traveled throughout the American South to conduct interviews, record folklore, and collect objects of cultural significance. Her work, which included interviews with enslaved people and their descendants, provided the basis for her novels, including "Their Eyes Were Watching God" (1937). ⁣⁣
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Hurston was an important voice in the largely male-dominated literary world of the Harlem Renaissance. Her work inspired—and continues to inspire—future generations of artists, authors, and anthropologists.⁣⁣

Learn more through Women & the American Story: https://bit.ly/3o82nAU
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📷 Carl Van Vechten, Portrait of Zora Neale Hurston (detail), April 3, 1938. Library of Congress

❄️ Where our minds go at the first flurry...
01/06/2024

❄️ Where our minds go at the first flurry...

A little bird told us it's  ! Celebrate with this painting by Alan Messer on view on our 2nd floor.⁣⁣Great egrets, black...
01/05/2024

A little bird told us it's ! Celebrate with this painting by Alan Messer on view on our 2nd floor.⁣

Great egrets, black-crowned night herons, and double-crested cormorants perch, nest, and preen in the wildlife sanctuary of South Brother Island in the East River. Spot the Robert F. Kennedy (Triborough) Bridge tower peeking above the trees. ⁣

🎨 Alan Messer, Crowded House—South Brother Island Colony, 2015/2017, Oil on canvas. Gift of Dr. Janet Shapiro.

Have a New Year’s resolution to visit more museums? Learn more history? Spend more time with art? Or just check out the ...
01/05/2024

Have a New Year’s resolution to visit more museums? Learn more history? Spend more time with art? Or just check out the largest Picasso in the U.S.?

We’ve got you covered. Explore our collection galleries and special exhibitions. We’re open Tuesdays through Sundays. Pay-as-you-wish admission is Fridays from 6-8 pm.

The Ellis Island Immigrant Station first opened on January 1, 1892. ⁣⁣Irish teenager Annie Moore is believed to be the f...
01/02/2024

The Ellis Island Immigrant Station first opened on January 1, 1892. ⁣

Irish teenager Annie Moore is believed to be the first immigrant to go through Ellis Island on its inaugural day. Over the next 62 years, more than 12 million immigrants would pass through this port of entry.⁣

Once inside the large building, immigrants would endure a 3-5 hour process where they were examined for medical conditions and interrogated. If they passed—and 98% of them did—they would be granted entry. In 1924, the island became a detention center for migrants and was abandoned 30 years later. In 1965, it became part of the National Park System.⁣

What happened to Annie Moore? According to research by Megan Smolenyak, Moore settled in the Lower East Side, married a bakery clerk, had 11 children, and died at the age of 47. It’s estimated that up to 40% of all Americans can trace their ancestry to those early Ellis Island immigrants.⁣

: Before Ellis Island, where in New York did immigrants pass through on their way to settle in the U.S.? 👇 Drop your answers below!⁣

✨🍾  ! Cheers to some much-needed rest (and maybe a hangover cure) at the start of 2024. ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣📷 Edmondson’s Stereographs...
01/02/2024

✨🍾 ! Cheers to some much-needed rest (and maybe a hangover cure) at the start of 2024. ⁣⁣⁣
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📷 Edmondson’s Stereographs. First Intoxication. PR065-0881-0004

When was the first Times Square bash for New Year’s Eve?⁣⁣Early in the 19th-century, New Year’s Eve was particularly row...
12/31/2023

When was the first Times Square bash for New Year’s Eve?⁣

Early in the 19th-century, New Year’s Eve was particularly rowdy. In 1828, for example, marauders harassed revelers emerging from fancy-dress balls. In 1879 authorities gained control of the celebrations, now held in churches, theaters, and gymnasiums—and away from drunken crowds. ⁣

In 1904 the New York Times’ Adolph Ochs threw the first Times Square bash in an effort to find a spacious place for the crowds to safely gather. It wasn’t until 1907 that the first New Year’s Eve Ball appeared. The Ball has been lowered every year since, except during wartime “dimout” of lights in New York City during 1942 and 1943.

All aboard!Immerse yourself in the holiday spirit with our toy trains, figurines, and miniature models from the renowned...
12/30/2023

All aboard!

Immerse yourself in the holiday spirit with our toy trains, figurines, and miniature models from the renowned Jerni Collection.

Our collection epitomizes a golden age of toy manufacture and transportation. It includes unique, handcrafted, and hand-painted pieces dating from approximately 1850 to 1940, and features prime examples by the leading manufacturers that set the standard for the Golden Age of Toy Trains, including the German firms of Märklin and Bing, as well as the American firms Lionel and Ives.

Holiday Express is on view through February 4, 2024. Visit and explore for yourself!

'Tis the season! ⁣⁣A Tiffany Studios advertisement placed in the New York Times in December 1908 declared that a Poinset...
12/27/2023

'Tis the season! ⁣

A Tiffany Studios advertisement placed in the New York Times in December 1908 declared that a Poinsettia shade similar to these “possesses a distinctive Christmas atmosphere. [It] gives the rich reds and greens of the Poinsettia with remarkable fidelity.”⁣

Visit and see more than 100 Tiffany lamps on view. We are OPEN today! ⁣

The Museum will close early at 3 pm on Sun, Dec 31, and will be closed all day on Mon, Jan 1st.⁣

📷 Tiffany Studios, ca. 1906-1910. Gift of Dr. Egon Neustadt; Adopt-a-Lamp sponsor: Mulitz-Gudelsky Family

A snowstorm for the history books! On December 26, 1947, New York City was met with a massive post-holiday snowstorm.⁣⁣T...
12/26/2023

A snowstorm for the history books! On December 26, 1947, New York City was met with a massive post-holiday snowstorm.⁣

The snow measured as high as 26.4 inches in Central Park—surpassing the 21 inches of the infamous Blizzard of 1888. ⁣

The Jan. 5, 1948 issue of LIFE magazine recounted:⁣

“At 3:20 in the morning it began to snow in New York City. By the time most New Yorkers were going to work the blanket lay three inches deep. But the city, used to ignoring all natural phenomena and reassured by a weather forecast of 'occasional flurries,' went about its business. But as the day wore on this characteristic blasé attitude vanished. The air grew filled with snowflakes so huge and thick it was almost impossible to see across the street. They fell without letup all morning, all afternoon and into the night."

Read more: https://bit.ly/3RjAR49

Are you looking for something creative and fun to do with your kids during the holiday week? Our DiMenna Children’s Hist...
12/26/2023

Are you looking for something creative and fun to do with your kids during the holiday week?

Our DiMenna Children’s History Museum is celebrating our Holiday Express exhibition with daily story times and crafts devoted to toys and trains! (Ages 3-6) https://bit.ly/3TmYNFu

When did Christmas tree vendors first set up shop on NYC sidewalks? 🤔🎄 ⁣⁣In 1851, the New York Times reported that a Cat...
12/25/2023

When did Christmas tree vendors first set up shop on NYC sidewalks? 🤔🎄 ⁣

In 1851, the New York Times reported that a Catskills woodsman named Mark Carr recognized the demand for holiday greenery. He paid $1 rent for a corner lot at Greenwich and Vesey Streets to sell his "mountain novelties"—and so the tradition was born! He returned every December. By 1880 the rent on his lot had risen to $100.⁣

Merry Christmas!

Please note: The Museum is closed today and will reopen tomorrow, Dec 26.

📷 1) Load of Xmas trees, N.Y., ca. 1910-1914, Library of Congress. 2) Broadway [between Cu***ng Street and Academy Street], 1925. 3) Greenwich Avenue [and Perry Street], 1926

  Central Park opened its ice-skating rink in 1858—years before the park itself was complete.⁣ Rockefeller Center's rink...
12/21/2023

Central Park opened its ice-skating rink in 1858—years before the park itself was complete.⁣ Rockefeller Center's rink opened on Christmas in 1936. It was meant to be temporary, but was so popular that it became a fixture of the season!

⛸️ Happy ! ❄️

📷 1-2) J.S. Johnston, Skating in Central Park, ca. 1890. 3) Central Park Ice Skating, c. 1900. 4) Eugene Gordon, Rockefeller Center, 1988. 5) W.J. Roege, Skating at Rockefeller Center, 1937

Why do we think that Napoleon himself used this fauteuil, or armchair?The left-handed Napoleon, famously impatient, ofte...
12/20/2023

Why do we think that Napoleon himself used this fauteuil, or armchair?

The left-handed Napoleon, famously impatient, often destroyed furniture by tapping incessantly on objects with a penknife.

Evidence shows that this chair’s left arm suffered damage from repeated scratches, causing the wood to weaken and chip off.

This chair was part of a suite made for Napoleon's council chamber at Malmaison in 1800. The chair was brought to America around 1816 by Napoleon's brother, Joseph Bonaparte, who owned a luxurious estate in Bordentown, New Jersey.

Remarkably, the chair retains its original finish, red wool upholstery, and gilded metal trim—more than 200 years later! You can see it on view on our 4th floor. https://bit.ly/37QmGw5

Philip Hamilton Hill was neither a literary figure nor an elite socialite. But his diaries from 1855-1865 paint a vivid ...
12/20/2023

Philip Hamilton Hill was neither a literary figure nor an elite socialite. But his diaries from 1855-1865 paint a vivid picture of his experiences as an ambitious apprentice, volunteer soldier, and young man seeking love and adventure in New York City.

Scholar and fellow Joshua K. Leon looks at one of the fascinating documents in our Patricia D. Klingenstein Library collection.

Philip Hamilton Hill's diaries tell stories of love and leisure in New York City before he enlisted in the Union Army.

A Gilded Age feud—Faust & Furious style! Many New York families who got rich in the era of industrialization, such as th...
12/19/2023

A Gilded Age feud—Faust & Furious style!

Many New York families who got rich in the era of industrialization, such as the Vanderbilts, found themselves shut out of the Academy of Music, the opera theater controlled by the “old money” families, and one that had a limited number of highly coveted boxes. In response, they decided to open their own opera house—with the same season opening night as the Academy of Music. And on October 22, 1883 the Metropolitan Opera opened with the opera Faust, sung in Italian.

Unlike today, where audiences sit quietly and listen to the performance, the patrons of opera houses of the late 19th century chatted, ate, drank, and circulated about the opera house during the performance.

The opera was a place where elite society went to see and be seen. Newspapers ran stories about who attended, what they wore, and the drama that ensued off-stage rather than on. The Tribune even printed diagrams of the interior, showing who sat in which box. The spectacle at the opera was often the audience, rather than the singers.

: The original Metropolitan Opera building, located at 1411 Broadway (and occupying the entire block between 39th and 40th), was destroyed by fire in 1892. The opera house was rebuilt, and underwent several renovations in subsequent years. The Metropolitan Opera moved to its current location at Lincoln Center in September of 1966. The old building was demolished and replaced with a high-rise office tower.

The hidden history behind Tiffany lamps offers a fascinating look at the contributions of women—including Clara Driscoll...
12/15/2023

The hidden history behind Tiffany lamps offers a fascinating look at the contributions of women—including Clara Driscoll, who was born in 1861.

The designs for lampshades from Tiffany Studios had long been credited to Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848–1933). However, a woman named Clara Driscoll (1861–1944) was the unsung artist behind some of the firm’s most beautiful and beloved designs.

Because of the 2005 discovery of a collection of Driscoll’s letters home, we now know that many of the lampshades from Tiffany Studios were designed and executed by women.

Driscoll was the head of the Women’s Glass Cutting Department at Tiffany Studios from 1892 to 1909 and managed a staff of fellow “Tiffany Girls.”

Driscoll designed some of the Tiffany’s most famous lamps, including the Dragonfly lamp, which won a prize at the 1900 World’s Fair. Driscoll ingeniously used pressed glass jewels for the insect’s eyes and a metal filigree overlay to render the delicate wings.

One hundred Tiffany lamps are on display here at the New-York Historical Society. Visit and see them for yourself! https://bit.ly/33NpCGt

The Brooklyn Bridge is falling down! It’s not—but that is what people thought soon after it opened during the Gilded Age...
12/13/2023

The Brooklyn Bridge is falling down!

It’s not—but that is what people thought soon after it opened during the Gilded Age.

The Brooklyn Bridge opened on May 24, 1883 to great fanfare as the longest bridge in the world. The engineering marvel took 14 years to construct, and nearly 14,000 people gathered to watch President Chester Arthur preside over its opening ceremony. Emily Roebling, who had unofficially acted as Chief Engineer of the bridge, was the first to cross it holding a rooster for luck. Over the next several days, thousands would crowd the bridge, eager to take in the spectacular views from the Bridge’s signature elevated boardwalk.

But just a few days after the opening, on Memorial Day, disaster struck when a pedestrian tripped and fell on the Manhattan side of the bridge. Rumors that the structure was collapsing quickly moved through the crowd, and the resulting stampede left twelve pedestrians dead.

Public trust in the project was shaky—something that showman and circus founder P.T. Barnum sought to fix when he marched 21 elephants and 17 camels along the bridge the following May.



1) Bird’s-Eye View of the Great New York and Brooklyn Bridge and Grand Display of Fire Works on Opening Night, 1885. Lithograph. 2) An invitation to the opening ceremonies of the Brooklyn Bridge on May 24, 1883. 3) George P. Hall. Brooklyn Bridge series. ca 1900. 4) Opening Ceremony ticket. 5) Promenade ticket for the Brooklyn Bridge.

This year marks 100 years since the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was first introduced to Congress. In 2021, New York Rep...
12/12/2023

This year marks 100 years since the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was first introduced to Congress.

In 2021, New York Representative Carolyn B. Maloney wore a distinctive gown to the Met Gala that drew attention to the ERA. Get an up-close look at this intricate dress in our new installation, and learn more about the legacy of women activists campaigning for equal rights using their bodies as a billboard. https://bit.ly/3Nql1CF

“A picture is a perishable moment. It is important. If it is a great picture at a great moment, it is a part of history ...
12/08/2023

“A picture is a perishable moment. It is important. If it is a great picture at a great moment, it is a part of history and cannot be allowed to escape. And it is so often now-or-never that when the great moment occurs, I could kill anyone who tries to interrupt me when I am recording it.”—Margaret Bourke-White

By 1930, Bourke-White had secured a freelance position with Fortune magazine and moved into offices on the 61st floor of the Chrysler Building. She befriended the stainless steel gargoyles that lived outside of her window (affectionately nicknamed “Bill” and “Min”), and even found opportunity to take her camera out onto one of the Art Deco beasts to capture images of New York City’s changing skyline.

Correspondence from Bourke-White in our archives reveals how she battled to preserve the pay and credit she felt she deserved for her images. She was not afraid to negotiate her terms with a friendly bit of verbal sparring.

Get more of the story on our blog here: https://bit.ly/47MguTe

Visit our installation "Cocktails at Three Paces: A Closer Lens on Margaret-Bourke White"—on view in our Patricia D. Klingenstein Library on Fridays, 11-8 pm, and Saturdays–Sundays, 11-5 pm. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3RxVSYZ

🕎  For the first night of   we bring you a photo from our collection of Jewish American novelist Fannie Hurst with a sev...
12/08/2023

🕎 For the first night of we bring you a photo from our collection of Jewish American novelist Fannie Hurst with a seven-branched menorah prominently displayed on the mantel behind her.

📷 Unidentified photographer, Fannie Hurst, ca. 1909-1928

  honors those killed in the surprise attack in Hawaii on Dec 7, 1941, prompting U.S. entry into World War II.This photo...
12/07/2023

honors those killed in the surprise attack in Hawaii on Dec 7, 1941, prompting U.S. entry into World War II.

This photo was taken just a month later, on Jan 9, 1942, of ship workers in New York who volunteered for transfer to Pearl Harbor.

Does this look like Santa Claus to you? 🎅 There’s not a sleigh or reindeer in sight, and instead of the classic red suit...
12/06/2023

Does this look like Santa Claus to you? 🎅

There’s not a sleigh or reindeer in sight, and instead of the classic red suit, we see priestly robes.

This broadside’s illustration and toast honor the 4th century Saint Nicholas. It was printed for the very first St. Nicholas Day celebration hosted by the New-York Historical Society in 1810. At the time, Americans acknowledged the winter holidays in different ways and at different times, and New-York Historical Society’s co-founder John Pintard thought that St. Nicholas Day should be celebrated annually on December 6th.

One thing that hasn’t changed—if you didn’t want to wake up to a stocking full of birch rods, you had to stay off of St. Nicholas’ naughty list.

To see how St. Nicholas—or ‘Sancte Claus’—turned into the figure we know today, visit our installation "Knickerbocker Santa: Celebrating 200 Years of ‘A Visit from St. Nicholas.’" Visit and learn more: https://bit.ly/3sXgrov

"New York was no mere city. It was instead an infinitely romantic notion, the mysterious nexus of all love and money and...
12/06/2023

"New York was no mere city. It was instead an infinitely romantic notion, the mysterious nexus of all love and money and power, the shining and perishable dream itself."

Literary icon Joan Didion (1934-2021) was born .

📷 William J. Roege, Aerial view of Broadway, New York City, undated (1910-1937)

Santa in the city 🎅 🎁These Christmas cards are the work of Oscar Fabres (1894–1960), a Chilean illustrator who studied a...
12/05/2023

Santa in the city 🎅 🎁

These Christmas cards are the work of Oscar Fabres (1894–1960), a Chilean illustrator who studied art in Paris and settled in New York in 1940.

Our archives contain his commercial artwork spanning 1940 to 1970, including these holiday greeting cards. The cards, created between 1950 and 1963, depict New York winter scenes complete with Santa Claus in comical scenarios like delivering presents to a doorman or riding his sleigh through Central Park.

🛍️ Send your own set of cards this holiday season! Shop the Oscar Fabres Assorted Christmas Boxed Notecards from our here: https://bit.ly/4a39CSV

  in 1783, General Washington bid an emotional farewell to his officers at Fraunces Tavern in Lower Manhattan. 📷 Eugene ...
12/04/2023

in 1783, General Washington bid an emotional farewell to his officers at Fraunces Tavern in Lower Manhattan.

📷 Eugene L. Armbruster, Fraunces Tavern, 54 Pearl Street, SE on Front Street, 1923.

🔥 “Prometheus, teacher in every art, brought the fire that hath proved to mortals a means to mighty ends.”⁣⁣Created by P...
12/04/2023

🔥 “Prometheus, teacher in every art, brought the fire that hath proved to mortals a means to mighty ends.”⁣

Created by Paul Manship in 1934, the 18-foot-tall “Prometheus” has become an iconic statue of Rockefeller Center. In Greek mythology, Prometheus was a Titan who created humanity from clay and defied the gods by stealing fire and giving it to humanity.⁣ Irving Browning captured this scene around 1938.



📷 Irving Browning, ca. 1933-1938

We remember the lives lost due to AIDS. ⁣⁣⁣⁣The AIDS Memorial Quilt was first conceived of in 1985 by activist Cleve Jon...
12/01/2023

We remember the lives lost due to AIDS. ⁣⁣
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The AIDS Memorial Quilt was first conceived of in 1985 by activist Cleve Jones. On October 11, 1987, the entire Quilt of 1,920 panels was displayed for the first time on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Since then, the Quilt has grown to nearly 50,000 panels, representing more than 105,000 lives lost.⁣⁣
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We are partnering with National AIDS Memorial to display six panels of the AIDS Memorial Quilt from December 1-3. ⁣⁣Learn more: https://bit.ly/40Wu185
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Along with that installation, we'll be screening the Oscar-winning documentary Common Threads today, Dec. 1, at 6:30 pm. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3uDS4wv

Join us on Sunday, Dec. 3 at 2 pm. ⁣⁣for a memorial quilt-making workshop with The American lgbtq+ Museum. Learn more: https://bit.ly/47RGH2j
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📷 1) Carol M. Highsmith, AIDS Memorial Quilt in Washington, DC. Library of Congress. 2-3) Panels of the AIDS Memorial Quilt. Courtesy National AIDS Memorial.

"You don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ide...
12/01/2023

"You don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas."
—Shirley Chisholm

in 1924, "Fighting Shirley" Chisholm—the first Black woman in Congress—was born in Brooklyn.

📷 Shirley Chisholm, 1972. Library of Congress

Curious about the history of the Gilded Age? Our Center for Women's History staff discuss the first two episodes of Seas...
11/30/2023

Curious about the history of the Gilded Age?

Our Center for Women's History staff discuss the first two episodes of Season 2 of HBO's . Explore the politics behind some of the feathery fashion to a deep dive into the great Opera Wars.

Founded in 1804 as the first museum in the city, the New-York Historical Society is one of America’s preeminent cultural institutions. Our mission is to explore the richly layered history of the United States through the lens of New York and to serve as a national forum on the making and meaning o...

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Who We Are

The New-York Historical Society was established in 1804 as New York’s first museum. Its eleven founders all lived through the turbulent years of the American Revolution and the British occupation of New York. These men believed that New York’s citizens needed to take decisive action to preserve eyewitness evidence of their own historical moment, which they recognized as important, fearing “dust and obscurity” would be the inevitable fate of accounts and artifacts if left in the hands of private individuals. “Without the aid of original records and authentic documents,” they declared, “history will be nothing more than a well-combined series of ingenious conjectures and amusing fables.”

It is in this tradition that New-York Historical has moved forward into the 21st century, offering to visitors on-site and online a vast collection of art, objects, artifacts and documents and an ongoing collecting program that aims to facilitate a broad grasp of history’s enduring importance and its usefulness in finding explanations, causes, and insights.

Learn more about us at nyhistory.org/about.