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Guide to the Drive to Protect the Ladies' Mile Historic District Papers
1896-2013
 MS 2964

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


© 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Sophie Glidden-Lyon

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on May 11, 2015
Description is in English

Descriptive Summary

 
Title: Drive to Protect the Ladies' Mile Historic District Papers
Dates [inclusive]: 1889-2013
Dates [bulk]: Bulk, 1985-1992
Abstract: This collection documents the efforts of the grass-roots organization known as The Drive to Protect the Ladies' Mile to designate this area in Manhattan as a historic district. It includes letters of support, research, submissions to the Landmarks Commission, and related materials.
Quantity: 2.0 Linear feet (4 Boxes)
Call Phrase: MS 2964

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Biographical/Historical note

The Drive to Protect the Ladies’ Mile Historic District was a community organization created in an effort to preserve the area of midtown known as the Ladies’ Mile. Roughly defined, the Ladies’ Mile spans the area from the East blocks of Broadway, to the west side of Sixth Avenue, 23rd to 14th street, including parts of Union Square, and a few blocks of Broadway down to 9th street. It contains approximately 400 buildings. Called the Ladies’ Mile because of the variety of department stores, clubs and restaurants that drew wealthy New York women to the area during the Gilded Age, the area includes the Flatiron Building, the Siegel-Cooper Building and many more. Most date to the late 19th century.

The effort to have the area designated a historic district began in the early 1980’s with Truman and Margaret Moore, a photographer and preservationist respectively. The couple took notice of the declining condition of many of the old department stores and combined their efforts to create a slideshow and lecture which highlighted the neighborhood's unique architecture and historic value. That slideshow eventually became a book, and along with Anthony C. Wood and Christabel Gough, the Moores organized the Drive to Protect Ladies’ Mile. Preservation advocate Jack Taylor joined in 1984 and spearheaded the effort as its president. It became an umbrella organization for a number of other preservation-minded groups, all focused on the midtown area. The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the area a historic district in 1989.

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Scope and Contents note

This collection was acquired from the New York Preservation Archives Project (NYPAP), a non-profit dedicated to archiving the historic preservation movement in New York. While it is not a repository itself, NYPAP works to funnel material relevant to the preservation movement to appropriate archives. As a result, this collection pertains to the 20th century effort to preserve the Ladies’ Mile, rather than the history of the buildings themselves.

It contains a cross-section of the research done and the campaigns organized by the Drive to Protect Ladies’ Mile. There are hundreds of letters of support from New Yorkers living both within and outside the proposed district, as well as letters from former New Yorkers, and preservation enthusiasts. The Drive to Protect Ladies’ Mile also asked for and received support from representatives for New York institutions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Conde Nast Publishing. There are press clippings spanning decades, tracking the progress of the Drive, as well as the opposition from a few Real Estate groups. There is a large amount of research done in support of the designation, including bound volumes of that work which were presented to the Landmarks Commission. This also includes swaths of statistics relating to the buildings themselves. Relatedly, there is a copy of Margaret and Truman Moore’s book End of the Road for Ladies’ Mile? as well as an unbound manuscript, many of Truman’s photographs, and the slides from the traveling lecture they created to raise awareness. The Drive also put together an archive to pass along to NYPAP. This contains press and letters of support held in binders, as well a couple artifacts discovered in the course of their research; a set of Siegel-Cooper playing cards, and the 1896 guidebook  Bird’s Eye View of New York and its Most Magnificent Store. Lastly, there is a small amount of administrative material concerning the Drive's budget, steering committee and interpersonal correspondence.

Arrangement note

This collection is arranged into the following three series:

I. Research and Submissions
II. Publications and Articles
III. Administration and Archives

Within each series, material is arranged by format.

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Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Open to qualified researchers.

Portions of the collection that have been microfilmed will be brought to the researcher in that format and can be made available by Interlibrary loan. Researchers on site may print out unlimited copies from microfilm reader-printer machines at per-exposure rates. See guidelines in Reading Room for details.

Photocopying undertaken by staff only. Limited to twenty exposures of stable, unbound material per day. (Researchers may not accrue unused copy amounts from previous days.)

Items that include presidential signatures will be presented to researchers in duplicate form.

Use Restrictions

The copyright law of the United States governs the making of photocopies and protects unpublished materials as well as published materials. Unpublished materials created before January 1, 1978 cannot be quoted in publication without permission of the copyright holder.

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as the Drive to Protect the Ladies' Mile Historic District Papers, MS 2964, The New-York Historical Society.

Provenance

Gift of the New York Preservation Archives Project, 2014.

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Container List

Series I: Research and Submissions

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Letters of Support
[undated]
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Letters of Support
1985
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Letters of Support [1 of 2]
1986
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Letters of Support [2 of 2]
1986
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Letters of Support
1987-1992
Oversize: Small Folder : Ladies' Mile OS 1 Cultural and Commercial History of Buildings in the Ladies' Mile Historic District Sorted by Street and Address
1987
Box: 1 Folder : 6 The Drive to Protect the Ladies' Mile District Information Booklet
c. 1985
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Ladies' Mile Historic District Research for the Designation Report
December 15th, 1987
Oversize: Small Folder : Ladies' Mile OS 4 Statistics for Historic District
December 19th, 1987
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Supporting Research: Maps
[undated]
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Supporting Research
[undated]
Box: 2 Folder : 1 Supporting Research
1889-1976
Box: 2 Folder : 2 Supporting Research
1985-1992
Box: 2 Folder : 3 Supporting Research: Statistics
1987, [undated]
Box: 2 Folder : 4 The Proposed Ladies' Mile Historic District: Vol. I The West Side
Spring, 1987
Box: 2 Folder : 5 Proposed Ladies' Mile Historic District: Vol. II Eastside Alteration History
Spring, 1987
Box: 2 Folder : 6 Proposed Ladies' Mile Historic District: Vol. III Eastside Original Dates, Vol. IV Eastside Alterations
Spring, 1987

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Series II: Publications and Articles

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 3 Folder : 1 End of the Road for Ladies' Mile? [Moore, Margaret]
1986
Oversize: Small Folder : Ladies' Mile OS 2 End of the Road for Ladies' Mile? Manuscript
1986
Box: 3 Folder : 2 Slides from End of the Road for Ladies' Mile? [1 of 2]
[undated]
Box: 3 Folder : 3 Slides from End of the Road for Ladies' Mile? [2 of 2]
[undated]
Box: 3 Folder : 4 Slides of the Ladies' Mile Historic District, Photos by Joseph Chan
1998
Box: 3 Folder : 5 Ladies' Mile Photos...Historic and by Truman [Moore], also Union Sq.
1985
Box: 3 Folder : 6 Press Clippings
1970-1986, [undated]
Box: 3 Folder : 7 Press Clippings
1987-1999
Oversize: Small Folder : Ladies' Mile OS 3 Metropolis magazine [includes article about Ladies Mile]
June, 1987

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Series III: Administration and Archives

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 4 Folder : 1 Siegel Cooper Playing Cards
1896
Box: 4 Folder : 2 Bird's Eye View of New York and Its Most Magnificent Store
1898
Box: 4 Folder : 3 Ladies' Mile Archives Vol. I
1896-2013
Box: 4 Folder : 4 Ladies' Mile Archives Vol. II
1986-2010
Box: 4 Folder : 5 Administrative Material
1985-1987
Box: 4 Folder : 6 Administrative Material
1988-1995, [undated]

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