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Guide to the Washington Square Park (New York, N.Y.) and Washington Square Area Image Collection, 1850-1990 NYU_ARCH_PHOTO_00001

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


New York University Archives

Collection processed by Collection processed by David O'Neill and Lisa Darms.

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on July 26, 2017
Description is in English.

Historical Note

The bulk of this collection contains photographic and print images of Washington Square Park and the surrounding area. Buildings that are part of New York University's Washington Square campus, extant as well as demolished are included in this collection.

There is a separate series for the the University Building, New York University's first permanent home. It was constructed on the northeast corner of the park between Washington Place and Waverly Place in 1833-34. Architects Ithiel Town, Alexander Jackson Davis, and James Dakin as well as NYU engineering professor David B. Douglass designed the university’s first building in the Gothic Revival-style. This type of architectural style was meant to evoke the medieval buildings of Oxford and Cambridge and link the more modern and practical American curriculum the university was founded on to the long, rich tradition of English education.

Initially, the building was too large for the student body to fill so residential rooms, studios, and laboratories were rented out to a variety of artists and inventors including Winslow Homer and Samuel F.B. Morse. In the late 19th century as the university expanded, the undergraduate college moved to the more spacious University Heights campus in the Bronx initially leading to the decline of the Washington Square campus and in 1894 the University Building was demolished. It was replaced by Main Building (now the Silver Center).

Sources:

"The University Building." The University Quarterly 17 (May 1894): 116-123. "University Building." New York University Education Quarterly (Spring 1981): 20.