New-York Historical Society

New-York Historical Society The Museum & Library are temporarily closed. Established in 1804, the New-York Historical Society comprises New York’s oldest museum and a nationally renowned research library.
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“You have emancipated us. You have enfranchised us. And I thank you for it. But what is your emancipation—what is your e...
06/05/2020

“You have emancipated us. You have enfranchised us. And I thank you for it. But what is your emancipation—what is your enfranchisement if the black man is unable to exercise that freedom? You have turned us loose to the sky, to the storm, to the whirlwind, and worst of all, you have turned us loose to our infuriated masters. The question now is, do you mean to make good to us the promises in your constitution?”—Frederick Douglass, 1876⁣

In this speech, Douglass called on the Republican Party—the party of Abraham Lincoln—to make good on the promises of Reconstruction. Much progress had been made in the struggle for black freedom and equality in the years after the Civil War. But there were also bruising setbacks. Southern white Democrats used threats and violence to oust black office holders and stop black men from voting. White elected officials in the north turned their attention to a crippling economic depression. Some were tired of the South's troubles, others believed that black people had been given enough. Douglass reminded them of the ongoing struggle and injustices. ⁣

“The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.” ⁣⁣Journalist Ida B. Wells began her anti-lynching cam...
06/04/2020

“The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.” ⁣

Journalist Ida B. Wells began her anti-lynching campaign in 1892, after a friend, Memphis grocer Thomas Moss, was shot to death by a white mob. Grieving and furious, she bought a pistol and focused her writing on the scourge of lynching.⁣

Lynchings were vigilante killings, by hanging or other means. They were meant to terrorize black people and keep them “in their place.” Some victims were lynched for perceived transgressions of racial rules, others for demanding basic rights. White vigilantes were rarely punished.⁣

Wells published a collection of her articles within months of her friend’s murder. Her work documented 728 lynchings in just the previous eight years. Wells hoped to “arouse the conscience of the American people” and compel them to take a stand. “The strong arm of the law must be brought to bear upon lynchers in severe punishment, but this cannot and will not be done unless a healthy public sentiment demands and sustains such action.”⁣

Wells was just awarded a long-overdue posthumous Pulitzer Prize.⁣

Read more from Women & the American Story here: https://bit.ly/36YDQGu

📸 Cihak and Zima, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, ca. 1893-1894. University of Chicago Library, Special Collections Research Center.⁣

#BlackoutTuesday. We're pausing on our social media in respect and solidarity.
06/02/2020

#BlackoutTuesday. We're pausing on our social media in respect and solidarity.

Am I not a man and a brother?⁣⁣This medallion was modelled after the seal for the Committee for the Abolition of the Sla...
05/30/2020

Am I not a man and a brother?⁣

This medallion was modelled after the seal for the Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade founded in 1787 by Thomas Clarkson. English potter and abolitionist Josiah Wedgwood created this of a kneeling enslaved man and the inscription "Am I not a man and a brother?"⁣

At the time people wore these medallions to show that they were promoting freedom, justice, humanity. Today, more than 230 years later, we find ourselves reflecting on this image and its message.⁣


📷 Wedgwood, Am I Not a Man and a Brother, 1787, Jasperware; Gift of Selma H. Rutenburg, MD, given in memory of Nina & Jack Gray

🐛 🐜 🐞 Are you bugging out? You're not alone. Mike Thornton, our Associate Curator of Material Culture, shares his #NYHis...
05/30/2020

🐛 🐜 🐞 Are you bugging out? You're not alone.

Mike Thornton, our Associate Curator of Material Culture, shares his #NYHistoryFave:

"Roaches took New York by storm in the 1840s creating a need for earthenware roach traps. Their numbers were so numerous that many New Yorkers argued that the recently completed Croton Aqueduct was functioning like a roach highway. We know today that they came by ship, but even so some neighborhoods still refer to them as water bugs." https://bit.ly/2ZDJX1d

"One can’t paint New York as it is, but rather as it is felt."—Georgia O’Keeffe⁣⁣O’Keeffe made this charcoal and chalk s...
05/30/2020

"One can’t paint New York as it is, but rather as it is felt."—Georgia O’Keeffe⁣

O’Keeffe made this charcoal and chalk study of the Brooklyn Bridge around the time she left New York to live permanently in New Mexico. This work (as well as the painting @brooklynmuseum) evokes the power of bridges to connect people & places.⁣

💘 The drawing’s sweeping cables create a valentine to New York, a place where she and legendary photographer Alfred Stieglitz launched their careers. 😊 We're excited to have this work among our recent acquisitions.⁣
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🎨 Georgia O’Keeffe (1887–1986), Study for “Brooklyn Bridge”, 1949. Charcoal and black chalk on paper; 39 7/8 x 29 1/2 in. New-York Historical Society, Promised Gift of Elie and Sarah Hirschfeld Collection, Scenes of New York City ⁣© 2020 Georgia O’Keeffe Museum / Artists Rights Society
(ARS), New York

During WWII, many Chinese Americans served in either the U.S. Armed Forces or civilian volunteer organizations that aide...
05/29/2020

During WWII, many Chinese Americans served in either the U.S. Armed Forces or civilian volunteer organizations that aided in the war effort.

Hazel Ying Lee joined the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) and flew planes to warfront embarkation points. She died in a plane crash in 1944.

📷 Courtesy of Frances M. Tong, Museum of Chinese in America #APAHM

For today's #TBT, let's take it back to 155 Rivington Street on the Lower East Side—a little over 100 years ago. What's ...
05/29/2020

For today's #TBT, let's take it back to 155 Rivington Street on the Lower East Side—a little over 100 years ago. What's different and what remains the same?⁣

The ground floor of the building used to house a knish bakery and restaurant in 1915, but appears vacant in the 2019 image.⁣ What else has changed?⁣

📷 William D. Hassler 🤳 Urban Archive

"Last fall, I found myself standing in front of the building depicted in Canal Street by the Chinese American painter Ma...
05/28/2020

"Last fall, I found myself standing in front of the building depicted in Canal Street by the Chinese American painter Martin Wong. Built in 1983 to house a bank, the structure is wonkily doubled in the picture to create an uneasy, over-the-top composition that both embraces and resists the visual stereotype of Chinatown. Wong’s self-portrait at the top shows him wearing his trademark campy Western wear, complicating ideas of what it means to be Asian American. Today, the bottom floor houses a Starbucks, and the sidewalk hosts street vendors from many immigrant backgrounds. I can’t wait to experience the glory of these streets again."⁣

— Rebecca Klassen, Associate Curator of Material Culture

Our curators pick their #NYHistoryFave to share with you. What's your collection favorite? https://bit.ly/3c767f4

👑  Like a queen overlooking her kingdom.⁣The Chrysler Building was completed #otd in 1930 and was briefly the tallest bu...
05/28/2020

👑 Like a queen overlooking her kingdom.

The Chrysler Building was completed #otd in 1930 and was briefly the tallest building in the world until the completion of the Empire State Building in 1931.⁣

Fun fact: Irving Browning was the first to capture the full height of the Chrysler Building in a single frame.⁣
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📷 Irving Browning, Chrysler Building at 405 Lexington Avenue, upper stories and spire, 1931.

We are saddened to learn that activist and playwright Larry Kramer passed away today. ⁣Among his many contributions, Kra...
05/27/2020

We are saddened to learn that activist and playwright Larry Kramer passed away today.

Among his many contributions, Kramer founded the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) in 1987. The organization used dramatic demonstrations & “zaps” to pressure pharmaceutical companies, the FDA, & public officials to respond to the AIDS crisis.⁣ Their best-known graphic, the pink triangle, is a historical reference to the symbol that identified gay prisoners in Nazi concentration camps. ⁣

📷: ACT UP Stickers (1987-2000) and Pin-back button (1990). Gift of Bella C. Landauer.

Did you know that photographer Dorothea Lange suffered a severe case of polio as a child and had a limp for the rest of ...
05/26/2020

Did you know that photographer Dorothea Lange suffered a severe case of polio as a child and had a limp for the rest of her life?

Today, Lange's photographs of the Great Depression are some of the most famous from the period. At the time, however, she was relatively unknown since the government often distributed images without the photographer’s names.

Lange was born #OnThisDay in 1895. Learn more about her fascinating life and career through "Women & the American Story" online: https://bit.ly/3gzQaBA

In honor of #MemorialDay, we remember all of those who have given their lives in service to our country. The work repres...
05/25/2020

In honor of #MemorialDay, we remember all of those who have given their lives in service to our country.

The work represents a bird's-eye view of 57th Street and Sixth Avenue as seen from artist Childe Hassam's studio at 130 West 57th Street.

#NYHistoryHere

🎨 Childe Hassam, Flags on 57th Street, Winter 1918, 1918, Oil on canvas; Bequest of Julia B. Engel

✨ #OTD in 1883 the beautiful Brooklyn Bridge opened. At the time, the engineering marvel was the longest suspension brid...
05/24/2020

✨ #OTD in 1883 the beautiful Brooklyn Bridge opened. At the time, the engineering marvel was the longest suspension bridge in the world.⁣

Emily Warren Roebling—who was instrumental in guiding construction after her husband and chief engineer Washington Roebling fell ill—was the first to walk across it. Rumor has it she carried a rooster with her for good luck.⁣
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📷 William J. Roege photograph collection, 1924

It’s #CityViewSunday! How well do you know the history of the Brooklyn Bridge? ⁣☝️Take the quiz in today’s Facebook Stor...
05/24/2020

It’s #CityViewSunday! How well do you know the history of the Brooklyn Bridge?

☝️Take the quiz in today’s Facebook Story. ⁣

📷 George P. Hall & Son photograph collection, 1898

Arthur Grumbine's street photography from the late 1930s through the 1960s explored various neighborhoods around New Yor...
05/24/2020

Arthur Grumbine's street photography from the late 1930s through the 1960s explored various neighborhoods around New York City. ⁣

In this photo, children smile and watch Chinese New Year celebrations from inside "Sun Mee Lai" shop window on Pell Street. ⁣
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📷 Arthur W. Grumbine photograph collection, 1938-1960

Take pictures of cats and the future will thank you. ⁣⁣😻 These kittens didn't know they'd be immortalized in photos when...
05/23/2020

Take pictures of cats and the future will thank you. ⁣

😻 These kittens didn't know they'd be immortalized in photos when William D. Hassler snapped this picture of Peaches the cat and fellow feline companions in 1916. For #Caturday, which kittens do you know destined for greatness? ⁣

#TBT: We can't find anything the same in these two images, taken in the same spot nearly 130 years apart. Can you?⁣⁣The ...
05/22/2020

#TBT: We can't find anything the same in these two images, taken in the same spot nearly 130 years apart. Can you?⁣

The top image shows unidentified women with Bronx police officers near a Dutch farmhouse on the corner of Borden Avenue and Laurel Hill Boulevard, ca. 1890. The bottom image was taken in 2019.⁣

#NYHistoryHere #MuseumFromHome⁣

📷 Robert L. Bracklow⁣
🤳 Urban Archive

"Story is about my parents, who came to this country from china before wwii, and our family. my Father joined the army d...
05/21/2020

"Story is about my parents, who came to this country from china before wwii, and our family. my Father joined the army during wwii to gain U.S. citizenship and we lived in new york’s chinatown after the war in government subsidized housing. My father worked in the restaurant business while my mother worked in the sweatshops of ny. the story is typical yet also unique. Either way, it has been underemphasized. people can read the facts but often have no perspective on the personal aspects of that experience during that time period of the 20th century...my father, mark wing soon, is the person standing on the right in the included photo."

Leighton Mark
New York, NY

Revisit stories from our previous "Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion" exhibition in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.⁣⁣⁣ Read more: https://bit.ly/2zGDg3D

"As a non-American living in NYC, I never felt alone, rather being protected and accepted. One day while I was walking a...
05/21/2020

"As a non-American living in NYC, I never felt alone, rather being protected and accepted. One day while I was walking around the city I noticed those effigies mounted on the buildings and I felt as if they are watching over us."

Michiyo Fukushima’s watercolor 927 Fifth Avenue is one of a series about her spiritual connection to New York City.

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

☺️ If you need something to make you smile today, artist Benat Iglesias Lopez and his young son found a unique way to th...
05/19/2020

☺️ If you need something to make you smile today, artist Benat Iglesias Lopez and his young son found a unique way to thank hospital staff.

They created a sculpture of a young superhero holding a sign reading "ThAnK YoU" in bright letters and place it outside New York's Mount Sinai hospital.

The "ThAnK YoU" sculpture is a promised gift to the Museum, as part of our #HistoryResponds initiative to document the pandemic.

Learn more: https://bit.ly/3d4qR82

🖍️ #ColorOurCollections: We post a new coloring page based on our collections each week.Color in this Civil War-era work...
05/18/2020

🖍️ #ColorOurCollections: We post a new coloring page based on our collections each week.

Color in this Civil War-era work depicting a woman reading the New York Times to her husband, a wounded Union soldier.

Print it out & add your own creative flair. https://bit.ly/2VRF6pG #MuseumFromHome #NYHistoryHere

"I am the 4th child of 5 and the first american born child of a chinese immigrant family. i was born in 1957 and growing...
05/18/2020

"I am the 4th child of 5 and the first american born child of a chinese immigrant family. i was born in 1957 and growing up, i think back upon the need to have to balance my chinese roots with my being assimilated into an american upbringing. i was lucky to have a dad that spoke english and a mom that only spoke cantonese. one of my funniest childhood memories is my dad speaking to me in cantonese and i was answering in english."⁣

Joyce Shing⁣
Brooklyn, NY⁣

Revisit stories from our previous "Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion" exhibition in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Read more: https://bit.ly/2AE3DYF

"Moy died in 2012 at the age of 96, she was an entrepreneur, a woman liberator, before it was fashionable. Moy did what ...
05/18/2020

"Moy died in 2012 at the age of 96, she was an entrepreneur, a woman liberator, before it was fashionable. Moy did what men did, she took no nonsense from anyone, she dared to come to America when there were few Asian and even less women, she was afraid of no man, women or demons, she roared wherever she went, she was heard whether you wanted to hear or not..."⁣

Moy Lee⁣
Brooklyn, NY / Miami & Ft. Lauderdale, FL⁣

Revisit stories from our previous "Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion" exhibition in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Read more:⁣⁣⁣ https://bit.ly/2TckmIC

How well do you know NYC history? Take today's Facebook Story quiz all about the history of the Waldorf Astoria New York...
05/17/2020

How well do you know NYC history? Take today's Facebook Story quiz all about the history of the Waldorf Astoria New York. ⁣

Are there buildings you want featured in an upcoming #CityViewSunday highlight? Tell us in the comments 👇 ⁣

Even at the peak of her fame, movie star Anna May Wong had to carry papers like this one to prove she was allowed to be ...
05/16/2020
Anna May Wong: Chinese-American Star

Even at the peak of her fame, movie star Anna May Wong had to carry papers like this one to prove she was allowed to be in the United States.

She was born in Los Angeles in 1905.

Read more in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

Anna May Wong was born an American. However, that didn't matter in a time when people of Chinese descent were being heavily legislated against.

"The movies were such a big impression on a young man in america that my father sought escape and identity in the images...
05/15/2020

"The movies were such a big impression on a young man in america that my father sought escape and identity in the images and stories of the American cowboy and hollywood. . . . this photograph of me as a young child is how he dressed me up as a reflection of himself as a young boy showing his admiration for his own cowboy childhood actors that he saw the big screen."⁣

Ken Shung⁣
New York City / Long Island⁣

Revisit stories from our #ChineseAmerican exhibition in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.⁣⁣
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🔗 Read more here: https://bit.ly/2Ay6br9

Once upon a time, a librarian from Walt Disney Productions asked us about the typical form of an 1800 New York invitatio...
05/15/2020
Book to Film: Walt Disney Productions and the Reference Librarian | From the Stacks

Once upon a time, a librarian from Walt Disney Productions asked us about the typical form of an 1800 New York invitation.

Why? Because in The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, Ichabod Crane receives an invitation from Baltus van Tassel—and filmmakers wanted to get it right.

You can still email us for help with your historical quandaries at [email protected].

In the course of the production of an animated film, Disney sought the help of a reference librarian at the New-York Historical Society.

Just a few blocks from our Museum & Library, these photos were taken—nearly 130 years apart. ⁣⁣Which differences do you ...
05/15/2020

Just a few blocks from our Museum & Library, these photos were taken—nearly 130 years apart. ⁣

Which differences do you notice? Did you spot the Ninth Avenue El on the right side of the photo?⁣

#NYHistoryHere #MuseumFromHome⁣

📷 Norvin H. Green collection of elevated railroad photographs 🤳 Urban Archive

🧵This is not the first time the garment industry has responded to a national crisis.Read more about the garment industry...
05/14/2020
The Garment Industry's History of Retooling During National Crises - Women at the Center

🧵This is not the first time the garment industry has responded to a national crisis.

Read more about the garment industry and women workers during World War II from our #WomenAtTheCenter blog.

This is not the first time the garment industries have responded to a national crisis, as posters and photographs from the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library reveal. During World War II, New York clothing factories, largely operated by women, churned out military uniforms for all branches of the milit...

05/13/2020
Anthony Mason walks through New York City, transformed by the coronavirus pandemic

New York has a history of resilience in times of crisis.

🎥 Watch CBS This Morning with Valerie Paley, our chief historian and director of our Center for Women's History.

For the past two months, New York City, the city that survived the Depression, 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy, has transformed as it fights the coronavirus pandemic. These days, after finishing the "CBS This Morning" broadcast, Anthony Mason puts on a mask and heads out into the city he grew up in and lov...

On this day in 1955, subway service ended on the Third Avenue El, the last of Manhattan’s elevated lines.📷 Unknown photo...
05/13/2020

On this day in 1955, subway service ended on the Third Avenue El, the last of Manhattan’s elevated lines.

📷 Unknown photographer, Elevated Station at 89th Street: 3rd Avenue El, ca. 1940. Gelatin silver photograph. New-York Historical Society # 64963

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170 Central Park W
New York, NY
10024

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.

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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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