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Guide to the Draper Family Collection MC.11

New York University Archives
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
10th Floor
New York, NY 10012
(212) 998-2641

New York University Archives

Collection processed by Evan Friss

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on July 25, 2019
Finding aid written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

 Updated by Jacqueline Rider for compliance with DACS and ACM Required Elements for Archival Description  , June 2019

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Draper family
Title: Draper Family Papers
Dates [inclusive]: 1836-1985
Abstract: Several members of the Draper family, including John William Draper and Henry Draper, taught and held admnistrative position at New York University (NYU) during the late nineteenth century. This collection highlights the genealogical history of the family as well as their roles within the NYU community.
Quantity: 2 Linear Feet in 3 manuscript boxes and 2 half manuscript boxes
Location: Materials are stored offsite and advance notice is required for use. Please request materials at least two business days prior to your research visit to coordinate access.
Language: Materials are in English.
Call Phrase: MC.11

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Historical/Biographical Note

John William Draper (1811-1882) was a scientist, historian, pioneer in photography (credited with the first photograph of the moon, and one of the earliest of the human face), and professor and president of the NYU Medical faculty. Two of his sons were also members of the faculty at NYU: Henry Draper (1837-1882), who constructed a silvered glass telescope and invented the apparatus for celestial photography, and John Christopher Draper (1835-1885), professor of Chemistry and author.

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Scope and Content Note

The Draper Family Papers consist primarily of printed and published items relating to the Draper Family, its history and genealogy. Information within the collection highlights John William Draper as scientist, photographer, and president of the Medical Faculty, and also contains materials relating to members of his family associated with NYU during the nineteenth and early twentieth century. A significant amount of the collection pertains to Henry Draper's writings and other accomplishments.


Folders are arranged topically.

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Draper, John William, 1893-
  • Draper, John William, 1905-
  • Draper, John William, 1811-1882
  • Draper, Henry, 1837-1882
  • Draper, John C. (John Christopher), 1835-1885
  • Draper, Daniel, 1841-1931
  • Jones, Theodore Francis, 1885-

Document Type

  • Books.
  • Articles.
  • Correspondence.

Subject Organizations

  • New York University
  • University of the City of New York. Medical Department
  • University of the City of New York. School of Analytical and Practical Chemistry
  • American Chemical Society

Subject Topics

  • Astronomical photography.
  • Chemistry -- Study and teaching.
  • Medicine -- Study and teaching
  • Photochemistry.
  • Photography

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Administrative Information


The Draper Family Papers were accessioned and processed by the University Archives in 1984.

Access Restrictions

Open for research without restrictions.

Use Restrictions

Any rights (including copyright and related rights to publicity and privacy) held by the creator are maintained by New York University. Permission to publish or reproduce materials in this collection must be secured from New York University Archives, (212) 998-2646,

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date (if known); Draper Family Papers; MC 11; box number; folder number; New York University Archives, New York University Libraries.

Processing Information

Materials were place in archival folders and boxes. Processing information before 2019 is unavailable.

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Container List

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Biographical data on Draper Family (inclusive)
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Draper family genealogy
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Biographical and bibliographical data on John W. Draper
Box: 1 Folder : 4 John W. Draper as photographer
1894 , 1950-1980
Box: 1 Folder : 5 John W. Draper as photochemist
1844 , 1928 , 1982
Box: 1 Folder : 6 John W. Draper as President of the Medical Faculty
1855 , 1978
Box: 1 Folder : 7 John W. Draper's association with the American Chemical Society; centennial of American Chemical Society
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Obituary and funeral of John W. Draper
1882 , 1953
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Draper memorabilia
1962 , 1976
Box: 1 Folder : 10 John W. Draper memorial plaque
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Centenary celebration of John W. Draper's birth
1911 , 1925
Box: 1 Folder : 12 Henry Draper (1837-82), son of John W. Draper
Box: 1 Folder : 13 John William Draper, Ph.D., specialist in English literature, grandson of John W. Draper
1948 , 1976
Box: 1 Folder : 14 John W. Draper, M.D., great-grandson of John W. Draper
1926 , 1976
Box: 1 Folder : 15 Dr. Daniel Gardner, grandnephew of John W. Draper
Box: 1 Folder : 16 Henry Draper Memorial Centennial Symposium
Box: 2 Folder : 1 John W. Draper Addresses
Box: 2 Folder : 2 Draper, Henry. Scientific pamphlets by other authors
Box: 2 Folder : 3 Draper, Henry. Inventory of tools, instruments, chemicals, and books
Box: 2 Folder : 4 Draper, Henry. "On Photographs of the Nebula in Orion"
May 1882
Box: 2 Folder : 5 Draper, Henry. Memoir, from University Quarterly
Box: 2 Folder : 6 Draper, Henry. "Diffraction Spectrum Photography"
Dec. 1873
Box: 2 Folder : 7 Draper, Henry. "Discovery of Oxygen in the Sun by Photography"
Aug. 1877
Box: 2 Folder : 8 Draper, Henry. "On the use of Carbon Bisulfide in Prisms"
Apr. 1885
Box: 2 Folder : 9 Plotkin, H. Colloquium at NYU Physics Department
Apr. 1881
Box: 2 Folder : 10 Draper, Henry. "On the Construction of a Silvered Glass Telescope"
Box: 2 Folder : 11 Symposium on the Orion Nebula to Honor Henry Draper. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Volume 395
Box: 2 Folder : 12 Barker, George F. Memoir of Henry Draper
Box: 2 Folder : 13 Plotkin, Howard N. "Henry Draper: A Scientific Biography." Abstract and Bibliography of Ph.D. Dissertation, Johns Hopkins University
Box: 3 Folder : 1 Correspondence (about photography, John W. Draper as a scientist, etc.); 1839 ALS from Draper accepting NYU professorship; letters to and from Theodore F. Jones about Draper; other correspondence on miscellaneous subjects related to Draper and the history of photography
Box: 3 Folder : 2 Correspondence (about Draper Family); letters between Dr. Jones and John W. Draper (III) about the family's history; extensive correspondence between Dr. Jones and Charles Lennox Wright, a Draper relative, on the same topic
Box: 3 Folder : 3 John William Draper: Reprints and typescript articles. "Professor Draper on the Process of Daguerreotype and its application to taking protraits from the life," excerpt from the London, Edinburgh, and Dublin Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science, v. XVIII, 1840; "Science in America" Inaugural Address of Dr. John W. Draper as President of the American Chemical Society, reprinted from  American Chemist, Dec. 1876; and "On the Phosphorograph of a Solar Spectrum and on the Lines in its Infra-red Region," reprinted from the  Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, [ca. 1880]
1840 , 1876-1880
Box: 3 Folder : 4 John William Draper: Lectures and Addresses. "Concluding Lecuture on the Theory and Phenomena of Heat," Medical Dept.; "An Introductory Lecture on Phosporus," Medical Dept.; and "An Address to the Alumni of the University."
1841 , 1847 , 1853
Box: 3 Folder : 5 John William Draper: Biographical Material. Photocopy of Draper entry from Universities and their Sons; typescript of  Dictionary of American Biography entry, written by Ellwood Hendrick.
1900 , 1928
Box: 3 Folder : 6 Henry Draper: Reprints. "On Diffraction Spectrum Photography," reprinted from the American Journal of Science and Arts, vol. VI, Dec. 1873; "The Total Solar Eclipse of July 29, 1878," reprinted from the  Journal of the Franklin Institute for Oct. 1878 (2 copies); and "Researches on Astronomical Spectrum"
Box: 3 Folder : 7 Henry Draper: Memorial minute. By Geo. F. Barker, for the Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society.
Box: 3 Folder : 8 Articles about John W. Draper, Henry Draper, early photography, etc., (photocopies). "John William Draper's Contributions to Astronomy," by Daniel Norman, Telescope V, (1938); "The Development of Astronomical Photography," by Daniel Norman,  Osiris V, (1938); "Virginia Professor Put Click in Photography," by Pat Jones,  The Record of the Hampden-Sydney Alumni Association, Spring 1967; "A Great Modern Observatory," by Mabel Loomis Todd,  The Century Magazine, v. LIV, 38, n.d.; "Historical Note: Chapter XI: On the Process of Daguerreotype, and its application to taking portraits from life," no title, n.d. (includes part of an article from the  London and Edinburgh Philosophical Magazine Sep. 1840)
Box: 3 Folder : 9 Miscellaneous NYU-related materials (photocopies). Course of instruction; reports to the New York State Assembly; list of "Philosophical Instruments Stolen;" and other related material.
Box: 3 Folder : 10 Photographs. Removed to LD 20, Draper Collection (Photo Area). Includes one glass plate spectrograph.
Box: 4 Draper, John William. A Treatise on the Forces which Produce the Organization of Plants (Harper and Brothers: New York, 1844).
Box: 4 Draper, John W. Varia [collected lectures, addresses and reprints]
Box: 4 Draper, John William. Textbook on Chemistry. Sixth ed. (Harper and Brothers: New York, 1851). Presented to the University of the City of New York by Daniel Draper.
Box: 4 Barker, George F. "Memoir of Henry Draper, 1837-1882." Read before the National Academy.
Box: 4 The Record of the Hampden-Sydney Alumni Association, vol. 9, no. 1.
Box: 4 J.S. Radway, Chemistry Notebook
Box: 5 Folder : 1 Draper, Henry. "Human Physiology"
Box: 5 Folder : 2 Draper, Henry. "A History of the Intellectual Development of Europe"

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