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Guide to the Records of The New York Institute for the Humanities RG.37.4

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 Lisa Darms. Additional media items processed by Marissa De Simone.

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on June 20, 2018
Description is in English.

 Container list updated by Kelly Haydon and John Zarrillo 2018

Scope and Content Note

The Records of the New York Institute for the Humanities collection offers unique access for researchers interested in the history of intellectual life and the humanities in the period between 1975 and 1985. While the Institute's mission focused on intellectual activity in New York City, it also brought noted intellectuals to New York from Latin America and Europe, including those supported by the Exiled Writers program.

In addition to materials relating to the operation and activities of the Institute, the collection contains a large number of documents generated by Professor Richard Sennett, founder and former Director of the Institute.

Series I: Director's Files: This series consists of records generated by the Director's Office and its staff. These records are related to both the administration of the Institute as well as non-Institute matters associated with the professional career of the Director. Richard Sennett generated the majority of the documents in this series; many of these relate to his career as an academic and a writer outside of his capacity as Director, such as correspondence with publishers and conference organizers.

Series I is broken up into four Subseries:

A. Administrative
B. Individuals
C. Institutions
D. Subject Files

Series II: Seminars, Lectures and Events: This series consists of records generated in the course of organizing and administering internal and public events; these materials include correspondence, reading lists, seminar minutes, posters, and transcripts of talks. Institute seminar leaders and members created many of the documents in this series. Materials for each seminar can range from one page of information, such as a list of attendees, to multiple folders of documents, sometimes including summary notes from each session and reading packets. Materials relating to Institute events, such as public lectures, include correspondence, transcripts of lectures and discussions, guest lists, and advertising flyers.

Significant seminars include Thomas Bender and William Taylor's "Culture of Cities", Richard Sennett and Michel Foucault's "Sexuality and Solitude", and the seminar "Sexuality, Gender and Consumer Culture". The year-long Times Square Conferences which evolved into the book "Inventing Times Square" (1991) are also well-documented.

A List of all seminars and lectures held at the Institute between its founding and 1987 can be found in the Institute's Ten Year Report (Series I.A: Box 3 Folder 13).

The last box in this series consists of student recommendation files created by Richard Sennett. Access to these student records are limited by FERPA, and the materials are restricted.

Series III: Audio Recordings: Not all audio recordings of Institute events have been digitized for research use. Please contact the University Archives with questions about materials available digitally. Additionally, some of the recordings were previously transcribed, and those transcriptions are contained in Series II.

The audio recordings are divided into three subseries:

A: Cassette Tapes
B: 1/4 Inch Reels

C: Mini Disks


Folders are generally arranged alphabetically by folder title and then in reverse chronology within each folder. Materials received in later accessions however, were added to the end of the relevant series, rather than inserted alphabetically. Audio tapes are generally arranged chronologically, although tapes received in later accessions are not in chronological order.

The records are grouped into 3 series:

  1. Director's Files
  2. Seminars, Lectures, and Events
  3. Audio Recordings