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Guide to the Thomas F. De Voe Scrapbooks
circa 1720-1890 (bulk, 1850s-1880s)
 MS 3193

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

New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Larry Weimer and Elise Winks

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on July 08, 2022
Finding aid written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Scope and Contents

The collection includes 80 scrapbooks compiled by Thomas De Voe. The bulk of the content is newspaper clippings, though some other printed forms are present as well. Some material ranges as early as circa 1720 and as late as 1890, but the bulk ranges from the 1850s into the 1880s. A few of the volumes are indexes to scrapbooks of clippings, which may or may not be in this collection. Entries in the container list that begin with the word Index indicate these.

34 of the volumes concern either New York City history (that is, from De Voe's perspective looking back from the mid-19th century) or contemporary developments during the 1850s to 1880s. These latter volumes include a variety of subject matter about the development of New York (especially Manhattan), such as in transportation (ferries, railways, etc.), cultural institutions (museums, historical societies), infrastructure (streets), events, etc. 15 volumes relate to obituaries or other profiles of notable people, 8 relate to the Civil War and other military matters, 7 concern markets, and the remaining 16 volumes are on various topics.

Each volume is listed in the container list. Volumes that retain a title given them by De Voe are noted in "quotations." Volumes that have a title given them over time by someone at N-YHS (possibly taken from a now missing original De Voe label) are noted in [brackets]. Volumes listed with no such markings were titled by the processing archivist in 2022 for the inventory; in these cases the volume had no indication of a title and the archivist assigned one based on a skim of the content.


Although notations on many of the volumes suggest that there was an overall structure to at least many of De Voe's compilations, that structure is no longer fully discernible. Labeled spines are now missing, some items may have been separated from the collection, perhaps not all volumes were received by N-YHS, and other factors complicate any arrangement to original order. Consequently, the 80 volumes in this collection have been arranged roughly by subject matter as perceived by the N-YHS archivist in May 2022. The rough categories are:

Markets (7 volumes)

Obituaries (15 volumes)

Civil War and other military matters (8 volumes)

New York City historical matters (21 volumes)

New York City matters of the mid to late 19th century (13 volumes)

Miscellaneous subjects (16 volumes)

Each scrapbook was given a unique identifier (e.g., SN-1, SN-2) by the processing archivists in 2022. These are intended only to facilitate reference and are not indicative of any overall numbering scheme found in the collection itself.