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Guide to the Records of the American Institute of the City of New York for the Encouragement of Science and Invention
1808-1983 (Bulk 1828-1940)
 MS 17

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
(212) 873-3400

New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Collection processed by Processed by Maurita Baldock, Cara Brick, Richard Fraser, Melissa Haley, and Tom Rosko with assistance by Keri Myers, Liz Arena Steinberg, and Joe Festa.

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on October 15, 2021
Description is in English.

Scope and Content Note

The American Institute records document over 175 years of committment to the promotion of American industry, agriculture, and science. Although materials in the collection date from 1808-1983, the bulk of the material is from 1828-1940. The collection documents the administration of the organization as well as its efforts to promote American Institute objectives through annual fairs, publications, adult programs and lectures, children's science fairs, and a children's exhibit at the 1939 World's Fair. The shifting goals of the American Institute, from the promotion of agriculture to the encouragement of industrialization to the promotion of science and technology, reflect the history of technological progress in American society.

The pre-1920 annual fair material relates to the planning of the American Institute fairs as well as information on the judges, exhibitions, and awards presented. The post-1920 material includes correspondence, press releases, and planning information regarding the children's fairs and programs as well as adult lectures and workshops. The collection also includes various materials related to the design and operation of the American Institute's children's exhibit in the Westinghouse Pavilion of the 1939 World's Fair. The Administrative subseries for the pre-1920 and the post-1920 material contains bound volumes and correspondence, reports, membership records, and financial papers that detail executive decisions and the general operation of the organization. The collection also contains pamphlets, publications, scrapbooks, artifacts, and visual materials of the American Institute.

Arrangement note

Original order within the folders, and the titles of the folders, have for the most part been retained. Upon transfer to the New-York Historical Society, a significant portion of the pre-1928 material was maintained in its original folder-level filing order. Most of this material was in tri-fold bundles. Folder titles appearing in quotation marks denote titles assigned by the American Institute. Titles appearing without quotation marks denote titles assigned for purposes of this arrangement. Folder titles do not necessarily include all the forms or genres of material found within the folders. For example, correspondence can be found in folders labeled Reports and Papers, as well as in those labeled Correspondence.

Folders are arranged chronologically. Researchers should note that some folders span several years and that some material might pre-date or post-date the date recorded in the title of the folder. Within each box, folders were placed according to the earliest date assigned by the American Institute's original folder title. If the American Institute did not date the folder, it was placed according to the earliest inclusive date.