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Guide to the George McAneny Papers
 MS 2963

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 06, 2015
Description is in English

Descriptive Summary

Title: George McAneny Papers
Dates [inclusive]: 1885-1989
Abstract: This collection contains letters, photos, news clippings and other material relating to George McAneny, a civil reformer who served as Manhattan Borough President, on the Board of Alderman, and in various other roles throughout a distinguished career. Also included are materials relating to his oldest son, Herbert McAneny.
Quantity: 1.5 Linear feet (3 Boxes)
Call Phrase: MS 2963

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Biographical/Historical note

Born Christmas Eve, 1869, George Francis McAneny was a newspaperman, lifelong civil servant and municipal reformer in New York City. After graduating from high school in New Jersey, McAneny moved to New York to report for the New York World and began his work in civil service as the executive secretary of the National Civil Service Reform League in 1892, a non-profit devoted to promoting efficiency and anti-corruption reform in government. Over the course of his career he served the public in a variety of roles: as the Manhattan Borough President in 1910; chairman of the State Transit Committee, which helped create the early foundations for today’s Subway system, in 1811; President of the Board of Aldermen in 1913; and as acting mayor during the absence of Mayor John Purroy Mitchel during that same year. With government reform and city planning always in mind, McAneny advocated vigorously for protecting public spaces and historical preservation. During his term as Manhattan Borough President, he restored 500,000 square feet of land to public use, and in the later years of his life, aided in the preservation of Fort Clinton, prevented the construction of a courthouse in City Hall Park, and was responsible for zoning ordinances which focused on building height. In 1933, he served as city comptroller. Additionally, he was one of the founders and the first president of the World’s Fair of 1939 and 1940 and served as the President of American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society. McAneny married Marjorie Jacobi and they had six children, Ruth, Elizabeth, Herbert, Arnold, Ernest and David. At the time of McAneny’s death in 1953, he had nine grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Some of the material in this collection relates to McAneny’s oldest son, Herbert (1903-1993). Herbert McAneny taught English and Theater at Milton Academy, Princeton Country Day and Princeton Day School in New Jersey. He spent the last 40 years of his life in Princeton, serving as president of the historical society, and as a founding member of the Princeton Community Players. He was an avid outdoorsman with a passion for the Adirondacks. His interest in theater was shared by his wife, Marguerite Loud McAneny, who served as General Manager of Princeton's McCarter Theater, officer of the Princeton Community Players, curator of the Princeton University Library Theatre Collection, and President of the Theatre Library Association. They had three children, Leslie, Wendy and Colin.

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Scope and Contents note

George McAneny’s papers contain correspondence, photographs, news clippings, and other materials, documenting his personal and professional life. There is correspondence regarding various civic and preservation projects and letters of condolence to his wife after his death. Press clippings focus mainly on his work as a civil servant and historic preservation advocate, including his work in city planning, and his battle with Robert Moses over the planned destruction of Fort Clinton. There are a number of photographs, including portraits, many undated or without identifying names. Identified photos of George and various family members are also included. There are also a number of event programs and invitations to the various awards George received during his life and posthumously.

Also included in this collection is material originating with George’s son, Herbert. Herbert McAneny was a longtime resident of Princeton, NJ, where he served as president of the Princeton Historical Society, the original location of this material. Herbert's papers include correspondence, photos, and a number of books and magazines mostly pertaining to his involvement with community theater or the outdoors.

Arrangement note

This collection is arranged into two series, George McAneny and Herbert McAneny, reflecting the subject and/or source of the material. 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 George McAneny Papers, MS 2963, The New-York Historical Society.


Gift of the Princeton New Jersey Historical Society, 2014.

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Container List

Series I: George McAneny, 1885-1984

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Correspondence
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Correspondence [Letters of condolence]
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Events and Awards
1913-1956, [undated]
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Campaign pamphlets, George McAneny and John Purroy Mitchel
1943, undated
Box: 2 Folder : 4 Press release and court documents regarding preservation of Castle Clinton
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Photographs of George McAneny
1885, [undated]
Oversize: Small Folder : McAneny OS 1 Photographs of George McAneny
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Photographs of plaques from 1939 World's Fair and Federal Hall Memorial
circa 1940
Box: 1 Folder : 6-7 Photographs, unidentified (likely family members); image of George McAneny's father-in-law, Abraham Jacobi
1901, [undated]
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Campaign lantern slide "George McAneny Fusion Candidate for Board if Aldermen"; unidentified mounted photographs
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Photo Album
Box: 2 Folder : 1 Press Clippings
Box: 2 Folder : 2 Press Clippings

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Series II: Herbert McAneny, 1901-1989

Scope and Contents note

This series is comprised of material relating to Herbert McAneny, including letters, photos, articles, books and periodicals. Correspondence includes letters written by Herbert to his mother in the 1920's from Oxford College and other European locations, and from Riverdale Camp in the Adirondacks. Additional correspondence includes Christmas cards featuring photos of Herbert's family, birth announcements for the children of family friends, and an invitation and announcement for his daughter's wedding. Photographs include portraits of family members, photos from the 40th reunion of Herbert's 1923 class at Williams College, and other unidentified photos. There are also photos of theater productions and playbills and other material relating to the theater. Additional material relates to Herbert's interest in the outdoors and history, specifically: trail books and publications on the Adirondacks; pamphlets on Fort Ticonderoga and Fort William Henry; trail guides for Williamstown, Batona Trail, New Jersey, and the Appalachian Trail; and travel pamphlets and magazines, including two issues of the magazine of the Wilderness Society.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 2 Folder : 3 Correspondence [Herbert McAneny to Marjorie McAneny]
Box: 2 Folder : 4 Correspondence
1923-1990, [undated]
Box: 2 Folder : 5 Correspondence [Holiday cards and invitations]
Box: 2 Folder : 6 Correspondence [Loud genealogy inquiry]
Box: 2 Folder : 7 Playbills and other theater related material
1901-1975, [undated]
Box: 2 Folder : 8 Photographs of theatrical productions
Oversize: Small Folder : McAneny OS 1 Photograph of theatrical productions
Box: 2 Folder : 9 Photographs, Herbert McAneny and other family members; unidentified photographs
Oversize: Small Folder : McAneny OS 1 Photograph of Lake George (?)
Box: 3 Folder : 1 Alumnae mailing lists and bulletins
Box: 3 Folder : 2 Adirondacks hiking maps and publications
Box: 3 Folder : 3 The Adirondacks, by Clyde H. Smith
Box: 3 Folder : 4 An Adirondack Sampler, by Bruce Wadsworth
Box: 3 Folder : 5 By Foot in the Adirondacks, by Phil Gallos
Box: 3 Folder : 6 Pamphlets and images of Lake George
1910, 1976, undated
Box: 3 Folder : 7 Pamphlets on Fort Ticonderoga and Fort William Henry
1935, 1955
Box: 3 Folder : 8 Trail Guides, including Williams Outing Club: Trail Guide & Map
Box: 3 Folder : 9 Travel brochures and wilderness magazines
Box: 3 Folder : 10 Rewards of Reading; photocopied excerpts of literature and poetry; facsimile of letter from Abraham Lincoln
1864, 1989, undated

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