New-York Historical Society

New-York Historical Society Established in 1804, the New-York Historical Society comprises New York’s oldest museum and a nationally renowned research library.
(1744)

Operating as usual

It's whiskey business. 🥃  ⁣Hip flasks became symbols of public intoxication and promiscuity during prohibition. In New Y...
01/17/2021

It's whiskey business. 🥃

Hip flasks became symbols of public intoxication and promiscuity during prohibition. In New York, hip flasks were banned. In 1922 the New York Times reported, "Uncle Sam Starts War on Hip Flasks: Broadway Resorts Warned by Squad that Diners Must Not Bring Liquor In."⁣

This sterling silver hip flask belonged to George Albert Zabriskie (1869-1954), our Museum's 22nd president. Zabriskie served as an officer in a "wet" advocacy group, and was involved in the anti-prohibition movement, of which this hip flask may have been a personal statement. ⁣

It's #NationalBootleggersDay⁣, also known as the day that #Prohibition went into effect in 1920. Can't find a juice joint? No worries since this Tiffany & Co hip flask is handy. (For all the teetotalers, we agree that there's no need for anyone to get blotto.)

📷 Tiffany & Co., Hip flask, 1907–1925, Silver; Gift of George A. Zabriskie.

Can you spot the three objects in this illustration with ties to New-York Historical?😍 We love this illustration by @pay...
01/16/2021

Can you spot the three objects in this illustration with ties to New-York Historical?

😍 We love this illustration by @paytoncturner with highlights from around the city.

In the lower right you'll find a Wisteria Table Lamp from our collection, on view in our Gallery of Tiffany Lamps.

Notice a dancing Keith Haring figure? Above our admissions desk is the original ceiling from Haring's Pop Shop.

Are you familiar with the Harriet Tubman Memorial at the crossroads of St. Nicholas Avenue, West 122nd Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard in Harlem? You can find a maquette for the memorial on view on our 4th floor.

The Museum is open Fridays through Sundays. Share your visit with us by tagging @nyhistory!

⚡ The city that never sleeps⚡ ⁣⁣Wishing you all a good weekend, ushered in by this electrifying night view ca. 1910-1922...
01/16/2021

⚡ The city that never sleeps⚡ ⁣

Wishing you all a good weekend, ushered in by this electrifying night view ca. 1910-1922 by William D. Hassler.⁣

✨ 👒 When #NationalHatDay falls on a #FashionFriday we have to showcase a few show-stopping looks from our collection. Ca...
01/16/2021

✨ 👒 When #NationalHatDay falls on a #FashionFriday we have to showcase a few show-stopping looks from our collection.

Can you guess the famous figures behind these charming chapeaux? Click on each image for their story. ⁣

🎩 If you guessed any of these correctly, well then—hat's off to you! Browse more in our online collections: https://bit.ly/39QWuSL

Penn Station's Moynihan Train Hall opened on New Year’s Day this year and so, of course, we're feeling nostalgic about t...
01/15/2021

Penn Station's Moynihan Train Hall opened on New Year’s Day this year and so, of course, we're feeling nostalgic about the old Penn Station. ⁣

The McKim, Mead, and White Beaux Arts masterpiece was controversially demolished in 1963. Its brief 53-year life was filled with highs and lows. ⁣

The concourse featured a magnificent modern arched steel and greenhouse-like glass roof, with a large clock hanging overhead. Below, 21 tracks served 11 platforms, accommodating up to 144 trains per hour. The original terminal had 84 granite columns and the central waiting room (which was a block and a half long) held the title as the largest indoor space in the city. Running perpendicular to Penn Station’s main waiting hall was an arcade lined with a pharmacy, soda counter, and all kinds of shops. ⁣

Its demolition spurred the passage of the 1965 New York Landmarks Law.

🎟️ A ticket to impeachment from our collection 🎟️ ⁣⁣President Andrew Johnson became president after Abraham Lincoln's as...
01/13/2021

🎟️ A ticket to impeachment from our collection 🎟️ ⁣

President Andrew Johnson became president after Abraham Lincoln's assassination. He was the first U.S. president to be impeached. His trial in the Senate was open to the public—though only a limited number of daily tickets were available. They were color-coded for the different days.⁣⁣
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In Johnson's case, the Senate fell one vote short of the two-thirds majority needed to convict, allowing Johnson to serve out his term. ⁣⁣
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You can see another ticket of a different color from recently posted to Smithsonian's feed. Check it out!

Bake the world a better place. ⁣⁣Georgia Gilmore (1920-1990) founded and ran the Club from Nowhere—a grassroots organiza...
01/12/2021

Bake the world a better place. ⁣

Georgia Gilmore (1920-1990) founded and ran the Club from Nowhere—a grassroots organization that raised money for the Montgomery bus boycott by selling home-cooked food. Gilmore and other clandestine Club members baked and sold savory dishes along with pies and cakes. (Gilmore was fired from her job at the National Lunch Company because of her activist work.)⁣

Join with your family tomorrow as our Living History coordinator Cheyney McKnight explores the overlooked work of Black women in the civil rights movement. Try your hand at making Gilmore's sweet potato pie⁣!

🥧 Save your spot here: https://bit.ly/2LlDVO9

There have been moments throughout the nation’s history when individuals have acted to protect the ideals, symbols, and ...
01/11/2021
Saving the Symbols of Democracy: Dolley Madison in 1814 - Women at the Center

There have been moments throughout the nation’s history when individuals have acted to protect the ideals, symbols, and objects of democracy.

Before the British entered Washington, D.C. during the War of 1812, ransacking both the White House and the Capitol building, First Lady Dolley Madison directed White House staff, including enslaved servant Paul Jennings, to remove the Lansdowne portrait of George Washington, along with her husband President James Madison’s papers.

Dolley was keenly aware of the symbolic power of the American president’s house and the site of the nation’s capital. Indeed, by saving the portrait of Washington, she also was saving the aspirational ideals of Washington, D.C.

We are reminded that although only elected officials pledge an oath to the constitution, the work of democracy belongs to all of us.

Read more about symbols of democracy and our 2017 exhibition "Saving Washington" in the latest post from #WomenAtTheCenter.

There have been moments throughout the nation's history when individuals have acted to protect the ideals, symbols, and objects of democracy. The reports of young congressional aides carrying cases of electoral votes out of the chambers as they evacuate...

Drink up for #NationalMilkDay! This milk carton was used by Muller Dairies, Inc., a New York City dairy located in upper...
01/11/2021

Drink up for #NationalMilkDay! This milk carton was used by Muller Dairies, Inc., a New York City dairy located in upper Manhattan and Long Island through the 1940s. Muller Dairies, Inc. was one of several New York City dairies active during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

This type of folded paper milk carton with a hanging tab closure was patented in July 1937 by J. M. Hothersall for the American Can Company of New York City and New Jersey.

Paper milk cartons were designed to “insure [the] maintenance of sanitation in a container prior to and following the filling of liquid.” Self-sealing cartons were believed to permit the most hygienic way to fill milk at dairies and prevent the types of germ contamination that frequently occurred during the bottling and sealing processes involved with glass bottles.

🥛 Muller Dairies, Inc., Milk carton, ca. 1937, Printed and paraffin coated paper; Gift of Charles Cohen.

👑 The #WaldorfClock was commissioned by Queen Victoria to showcase the friendship between the U.K. and the U.S. The cloc...
01/10/2021

👑 The #WaldorfClock was commissioned by Queen Victoria to showcase the friendship between the U.K. and the U.S. The clock features bronze relief portraits of eight notable Americans and Queen Victoria. ⁣

The clock debuted at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. It made its way to New York when John Jacob Astor IV purchased the clock for display in the original Waldorf Astoria at Fifth Avenue and 34th Street. The clock moved to the lobby of the hotel’s second home when it relocated to Park Avenue and 49th Street in 1931.⁣

See this stunning piece of history, on loan from Waldorf Astoria New York, on view on our first floor!

📷 Optimist Consulting

"In his heart, though, Mr. Caro knew where he wanted his papers to go: the same historical society building where he fou...
01/08/2021
What We Found in Robert Caro’s Yellowed Files

"In his heart, though, Mr. Caro knew where he wanted his papers to go: the same historical society building where he found distraction as a boy, a beloved aunt by his side."

We are honored to have acquired Robert Caro's archive. His works on Robert Moses and Lyndon Johnson are regarded as masterpieces of modern biography and history.

Get a glimpse into his office in the latest from The New York Times and mark your calendars for our upcoming installation, featuring a rotating selection of highlights from the archive.

The author of “The Power Broker” and a multivolume biography of L.B.J. is giving awed archivists — and New York — access to more than 50 years of research.

Zora Neale Hurston was a luminary of the Harlem Renaissance but was relatively unknown and very poor when she died. ⁣⁣Hu...
01/08/2021

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

Hurston was born #OnThisDay in 1891. A writer and anthropologist, she committed her life to studying and celebrating African American folklore and culture. ⁣

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. ⁣

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). ⁣

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 in Women & The American Story: https://bit.ly/3o82nAU

📷 Carl Van Vechten, Portrait of Zora Neale Hurston (detail), April 3, 1938; Library of Congress.

In 1858, Samuel Jollie patented a ballot box, designed so "that the bystanders may see every ballot which is put in, see...
01/07/2021

In 1858, Samuel Jollie patented a ballot box, designed so "that the bystanders may see every ballot which is put in, see all the ballots that are in, and see them taken out." Jollie sold 1200 of his cast iron and glass boxes to New York City in time for the 1857 election.

📷 Samuel C. Jollie, Ballot box, ca. 1857, Glass, iron; Gift of George H. Dean

🐫 Happy Three Kings Day, also known as the Epiphany, to all those who celebrate the holiday! Celebrations include perfor...
01/06/2021

🐫 Happy Three Kings Day, also known as the Epiphany, to all those who celebrate the holiday! Celebrations include performances and parades like Harlem's annual Three Kings Day Parade, hosted by El Museo del Barrio.

Check out photos from the 1988 parade in Harlem, photographed by Eugene Gordon. The images show a child in costume riding a donkey while being interviewed by a reporter, a man riding a camel, three people costumed in large papier-mâché heads, and children in the procession. 👑 👑 👑

Credit where credit is due. 💡 The base of this beautiful dragonfly lamp, one of Tiffany Studio’s most famous designs, is...
01/05/2021

Credit where credit is due. 💡 The base of this beautiful dragonfly lamp, one of Tiffany Studio’s most famous designs, is marked with the company’s name. But the idea for it came from Clara Driscoll. She wrote to her family: ⁣

“This Dragon fly lamp is an idea that I had last Summer….It is for an electric light and is going to be dragon flies with gauze wings—eyes made of glass beads cut in two, the split hole in the bead making the light in the eye—and the bodies made of metal. I want to submit the idea to Mr. Tiffany.” ⁣

#TiffanyTuesday⁣

📷 Clara Driscoll, Tiffany Studios, Dragonfly table lamp, designed ca. 1900-1906, Leaded glass, bronze; Gift of Dr. Egon Neustadt. Photo by Colin Cooke.

#DidYouKnow nearly half of all North American bird species will face dire threats to their survival by 2080 due to clima...
01/05/2021

#DidYouKnow nearly half of all North American bird species will face dire threats to their survival by 2080 due to climate change?⁣

On #NationalBirdDay, take a gander at this study of a Yellow-throated Warbler by artist George Boorujy. This little songbird is part of the Audubon Mural Project, a public art initiative by the Audubon Society and Gitler & _____ Gallery. ⁣

The project commissioned artists to paint murals of each of the threatened species throughout Hamilton Heights and Washington Heights. More than 100 currently embellish local buildings. ⁣A mural at 560 West 157th Street is one of three Boorujy painted in the series. ⁣

Learn more: https://bit.ly/3aSvVyw

📷 George Boorujy, Yellow-throated Warbler: Study for Audubon Mural Project at 560 West 157th St., 2017; Purchased through the generosity of Susan and Ira Millstein.

💉 "BE SURE! BE SAFE! GET VACCINATED!" was part of a slogan from a successful 1947 campaign that requested voluntary vacc...
01/05/2021

💉 "BE SURE! BE SAFE! GET VACCINATED!" was part of a slogan from a successful 1947 campaign that requested voluntary vaccination to stave off a potential smallpox epidemic. ⁣
As part of the campaign, five million New Yorkers were vaccinated at schools and clinics around the city in two weeks.

The eradication of naturally occurring smallpox in the U.S. is one of the great triumphs of modern medicine. But the victory was not straightforward. In New York City, the story of smallpox presented a microcosm of the conflicts between private liberty and the public good that are still with us today. The history of smallpox also shows that controlling epidemics involves much more than just good science—it also demands the art of public persuasion and, even more importantly in our own time, strong organizational skills and expertise in crowd control.

📷 Certificate of Protection from Smallpox, 1902. New-York Historical Society, Gift of Bella C. Landauer, PR 031

✍️ Have a #NewYearsResolution to write more letters? We've got a challenge for you.⁣⁣Try your hand at cross-writing or c...
01/04/2021

✍️ Have a #NewYearsResolution to write more letters? We've got a challenge for you.⁣

Try your hand at cross-writing or cross hatching, a practice 19th-century letter writers used to save money on postage and paper—it's both nifty and thrifty! 💌 The letter is turned sideways and written over. Though cross-writing looks difficult to read, it really is not once you take a closer look. Try it out!⁣

This personal letter from Ann Fisher of Richmond, England, to her niece Esther Powell in Long Island (1808) is an excellent example.⁣

📷 Ann Fisher letter to Esther Powell, 1808 February 1. MS 2958.3421

✨ Happy #CityViewSunday from this wintry view of the Washington Square Park arch, captured by Eugene Gordon in 1986. ⁣⁣#...
01/04/2021

✨ Happy #CityViewSunday from this wintry view of the Washington Square Park arch, captured by Eugene Gordon in 1986. ⁣

#DidYouKnow that the marble used for Washington Square Arch was also used to build Federal Hall and St. Patrick’s Cathedral? It came from a now-closed quarry north of the city in Tuckahoe, Eastchester.

Even when actress Anna May Wong’s face was on billboards and movie screens across the United States, she had to constant...
01/03/2021

Even when actress Anna May Wong’s face was on billboards and movie screens across the United States, she had to constantly prove her citizenship. ⁣⁣

Under the Chinese Exclusion Act, all people of Chinese descent had to carry identification papers proving they were allowed to be in the country. Wong achieved international fame as an actress despite racism and stereotyping.⁣⁣
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She was born Wong Liu Tsong #OnThisDay in 1905 in Los Angeles. Anna’s parents owned a laundry because it was one of the few work options available to Chinese Americans. At a young age, Anna was fascinated with the movies. She used the tips she earned delivering laundry to buy movie tickets.⁣⁣
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By 1921, she began to pursue acting full-time. Anna took on bigger roles but her parts were still limited. Most audiences wanted to see Asian women portraying stereotypes, as either passive young women or murderous villainesses. Many states had anti-miscegenation laws, which prohibited interracial couples on screen. It was also common for white actresses to play Asian characters in yellowface, so Anna often competed against non-Asian women for Asian parts. ⁣⁣

Learn more in our Women & The American Story online curriculum: https://bit.ly/34XK5ul
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📷 Carl Van Vechten photographic portrait of Wong, September 22, 1935, Library of Congress

Before the iconic #WaldorfClock went on view in our galleries, it underwent a year-long restoration. "With the layers of...
01/02/2021
Culture Of Time: The Waldorf-Astoria's Iconic Clock, A Gift From Queen Victoria, Is Ready To Run Again - HODINKEE

Before the iconic #WaldorfClock went on view in our galleries, it underwent a year-long restoration.

"With the layers of grime accumulated over the decades cleaned off, and the finish restored on all exterior surfaces, the remarkable visual richness of the clock can be seen, as well as the interplay of different finishes and surfaces."

✨ See the clock (on loan from Waldorf Astoria New York) in all its dazzling glory at the Museum.

A year-long restoration lets this horological jewel in the crown shine like new.

President Lincoln declared that enslaved people in rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free” #OnThisDay in...
01/01/2021

President Lincoln declared that enslaved people in rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free” #OnThisDay in 1863.

Commemorate the anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation with a rare broadside printing of the Proclamation signed by Abraham Lincoln: https://bit.ly/3pGMstq

#OnThisDay in 1892, the Ellis Island Immigrant Station opened. Over the next 62 years, more than 12 million immigrants w...
01/01/2021

#OnThisDay in 1892, the Ellis Island Immigrant Station opened. Over the next 62 years, more than 12 million immigrants would pass through this port of entry.

✨ Happy #NewYearsEve! ⁣⁣New Year's Eve looks a little different this year as Times Square will be closed to the public f...
01/01/2021

✨ Happy #NewYearsEve! ⁣

New Year's Eve looks a little different this year as Times Square will be closed to the public for the first time in decades. ⁣

The ball was first dropped in Times Square in 1907. (It weighed a hefty 700 pounds, which is nothing compared to its weight in more recent years. The ball is nearly *17 times* heavier). Since 1907, the ball has been lowered on New Year’s Eve every year—except in 1942 and 1943, when the ceremony was suspended due to the wartime “dimout” of lights during World War II. ⁣

We appreciate all of you as we head into 2021. We wish you a safe, healthy, and happy New Year. ❤️ ⁣

📷 New Year's Eve crowds in Times Square, ca. 1907.

🍰 Have yourself a slice of New Year Cake! Oh, you don’t know what that is? That’s ok—we’ve got “Mrs. Jackson’s New Year ...
12/31/2020

🍰 Have yourself a slice of New Year Cake!

Oh, you don’t know what that is? That’s ok—we’ve got “Mrs. Jackson’s New Year Cake” recipe from the mid-19th century so you can bake your own. Roughly transcribed, it calls for:

7 lbs flour
3 of sugar
2 of butter
[mix] the butter & sugar to a cream
1 pint of water
2 spoons of saleratus (a leavener, like baking soda)
6 oz. of caraway seed

Be prepared—this recipe makes *a lot of cake.* One reason for it could be that it was customary for New Yorkers to visit the homes of everyone they knew on New Year’s Day and hostesses had cake to serve their guests. Read more: https://bit.ly/2MFF0O4

Address


Subway: B or C trains to 81st Street. Bus: M10 to 77th Street, M79 to 81st and Central Park West.

General information

The New-York Historical Society, a pre-eminent educational and research institution, is home to both New York City's oldest museum and one of the nation's most distinguished independent research libraries. New-York Historical is dedicated to presenting exhibitions and public programs and fostering research that reveal the dynamism of history and its influence on the world of today. Founded in 1804, its holdings cover four centuries of American history, and include one of the world’s greatest collections of historical artifacts, American art and other materials documenting the history of the United States as seen through the prism of New York City and State.

Opening Hours

Thursday 11:00 - 17:00
Friday 10:00 - 20:00
Saturday 11:00 - 17:00
Sunday 11:00 - 17:00

Telephone

(212) 873-3400

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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.

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