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Guide to the Victorian Society of America, Metropolitan Chapter Records
1950s-2019 (bulk 1970-2015)
 MS 3205

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


New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Michelle D. Novak

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on September 30, 2022
Finding aid written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Container List

Series I. Paper-based Files, 1950s-2019 (bulk 1970-2015). 12 Linear feet in 12 record cartons

Scope and Contents

The series includes the paper-based records of the Victorian Society of America, Metropolitan Chapter (VSNY), with some early records of the parent organization. Overall, the VSNY records include newsletters, Board minutes and other governance matters, financial records, event publicity, membership forms, and other material ranging from the 1970s to 2019.

The files retain VSNY's original chronological order and the coding structure used by VSNY to arrange each year's documents by subject matter. These codes (i.e, letters A to X) were used consistently to sequence the folders for newsletters, minutes, and so forth for each year. Following is a description of the content for the letter codes used by VSNY for the records. However, not all documents/codes are present in every year.

Folder Code A) Metropolitan Chapter Newsletters

VSNY began publishing a Chapter newsletter in 1983. The newsletter is published twice a year, in the spring and fall, with occasional additional issues and/or a Chapter update leaflets. The newsletter contains news and updates on VSNY's preservation advocacy; VSNY awards, scholarships, and grants; VSA Summer Schools; Board news and interviews, member news and lists; past events; and comprehensive calendar of all lectures, seminars, and tours; among other recurring features.

Folders contain as many extant copies as were delivered by VSNY and some issues are missing.

Before 1983 news from the VSA Chapters was contained within the VSA's national publication, The Victorian; see Folder Code J) National Publications.

 See also:
– Series II, Digital, may contain draft articles and photos submitted to the newsletter and some PDFs of printed issues
– Issues from 2007-present are available at https://vicsocny.org

Folder Code B) Board Minutes
Contains extant monthly Board meeting agendas, minutes and, possibly, some correspondence outside of Board meetings that affect agenda items.

The VSNY Board begins its term on July 1, annually, and ends on June 30. From July to September VSNY Committees meet to plan the next year and the monthly board meetings begin in September. In earlier years, Board terms of service were limited to one year and, eventually, VSNY adopted longer, multi-year terms.

Of note, some VSNY Board Members, such as William (Bill) J. Dane, served on VSA national's board and committees, and VSNY correspondence may sometimes be commingled with national business (Folder Code K).

 See also:
– Folder Code C) Treasurer's Reports
– Folder Code D) Annual Meeting
– Folder Code I) Officers and Volunteers, for committee lists, resignations and absences, and board nominations
– Folder Code K) VSA National Conference and Tours / National Board Minutes
– Series II, Digital: Contains some agendas and minutes in digital format (e.g., Microsoft Word DOC).

Folder Code C) Treasurer's Reports and Budgets
Contains annual budgets and projections, year-to-date accounting distributed at Board meetings and the Annual Meeting, paid invoices, and sometimes cancelled checks, ledgers, and receipts for petty cash.

Folder Code D) Annual Meeting
Contains flyers, postcards, and/or invitations to the VSNY Annual Meeting, held annually in May, at a historic location in New York City. The Annual Meeting is a public Board meeting and a continuation of business from Folder Code B) Board Minutes. Nominees to the VSNY Board and some administrative issues are voted on by members at the Annual Meeting. Occasionally may also contain duplicates of VSNY Award documents, speakers' scripts, and/or 35mm presentation slides. May also contain minor ephemera such as venue information, history, and correspondence about the venue.

 See also:
– Series II, Digital: May contain photos from Annual Meetings, PowerPoint files, and miscellaneous Annual Meeting-related correspondence.

Folder Code E) Lectures
Contains flyers, postcards and/or invitations to VSNY-hosted lectures. May also contain administrative records as to brainstorming and planning, speaker biographies, and attendee lists. (Does not include scripts, slides, or materials from the presentation.) Note that in some programming years, the VSNY employed a Publicity Committee to send press releases to local newspapers and other media outlets to promote upcoming events. If an announcement was formatted as a press release, it may be located in Folder Code V) Media Contacts / Press Releases.

Folder Code F) Tours
Contains flyers, postcards and/or invitations to VSNY-hosted tours. May also contain administrative records as to brainstorming and planning, budgets and bills, correspondence, attendee lists, research materials, and, occasionally, tour guide scripts. Note that in some programming years, the VSNY employed a Publicity Committee to send press releases to local newspapers and other media outlets to promote upcoming events. If an announcement was formatted as a press release, it may be located in Folder Code V) Media Contacts / Press Releases.

Folder Code G) Preservation Advocacy
Contains correspondence with government agencies, planning authorities, NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission, and others, voicing VSNY support for restoration projects and landmark designation and identify sites and structures falling into disrepair. As preservation advocacy touches most, if not all, parts of VSNY's operations, materials may be found across numerous folders.

Folder Code H) Special Events / Parties / Fundraisers
Contains invitations and occasional photographs from events outside of the regular calendar of Lectures, Tours, Annual Meeting, and Summer Schools. Often, there were two to three special events per year, including a summer social outing, winter VSA Summer School scholarship fundraiser, and a holiday- or new year-themed tour or event.

Folder Code I) Officers and Volunteers
Contains lists of Board members and Officers; Committee assignments; descriptions of roles and responsibilities; Nominating Committee candidates, candidate resumes, and memos; and contact information. May also contain communications about Board business not discussed within the context of a Board or Annual Meeting, such as notes of absence, letters of acceptance and resignation, Board packets, and other Board management materials.

 See also:
– Folder Code B) Board Minutes
– Folder Code C) Annual Meeting

Folder Code J) VSA [National] Publications
Contains printed newsletters produced by the national VSA organization. Note that before 1983, the VSNY did not produce a Chapter newsletter, so the bulk of inclusive dates are from the mid-1980s and earlier.

Folder Code K) VSA National Conference and Tours / National Board Minutes
Contains invitations, schedules and agendas, attendee packets, and information and administrative correspondence about the VSA Annual Meeting. Also contains VSA national Board Agendas and Minutes.

Folder Code L) Summer School
The VSA Summer School program is managed by the VSA (U.S.) national organization and the Victorian Society (U.K.) sister organization. VSA Summer Schools are held in the United Kingdom and other European destinations; Newport, Rhode Island; and Chicago, Illinois, and alumni of the program are enrolled in a non-regional VSA Alumni Association Chapter. Contents may include brochures and info session materials, applications and related correspondence, enrollment lists, photos, thank you notes from attendees, and other related materials. The VSNY and VSA offer scholarships to defray the costs of the program so VSA Summer School scholarship correspondence may also be filed in Folder Code N) Awards and Scholarships.

Folder Code M) Education
Primarily includes local VSNY programs such as Hands On History student engagement programs.

 See also:
– Folder Code E) Lectures
– Folder Code F) Tours
– Folder Code L) VSA Summer School

Folder Code N) Awards and Scholarships
Contents include nominations, applications, and information for a VSNY Award, which began in 1976. Submission categories include, but are not limited to, recognizing excellence in publications, preservation advocacy, restoration, individual achievement, exhibition, lifetime achievement and other categories by bestowing awards during its Annual Meeting (May). The number of award categories and awardees has grown significantly over the years. Scholarship applications and correspondence concerning the VSA Summer Schools may be contained in Folder Code L) Summer School.

Folder Code O) Membership
Contains membership forms, flyers, and brochures; membership lists and/or labels; and some correspondence.

Folder Code P) Legal / Operations / Bylaws
Contains VSNY operational documents such as liability insurance contracts, space use and rental contracts, tax exemption certificates, and bylaws and bylaw updates.

Folder Code Q) Correspondence
Contains general correspondence between VSNY and members and related organizations. May also contain acknowledgement of donations to and by the VSNY.

 See also:
– Folder Code D) Treasurer's Reports and Budgets

Folder Code R) VSA Correspondence with Chapters
Contents include correspondence between the VSNY and the VSA national organization regarding the filing of annual reports with the national organization (bulk) as well as some minor correspondence between chapters.

Folder Code S) Special Publications
This Folder Code is rarely used as most VSNY special publications overlap with cast iron preservation.

Folder T) Margot Gayle Papers / Fund / Projects
Contents include personal papers and ephemera collected by Margot Gayle. Contents mostly concern VSNY business but also includes some projects, advocacy, photos, and work with the Friends of Cast Iron Architecture, of which she was a founding member. In 2003, the Margot Gayle Fund was established to fund preservation awards. After Gayle's death in 2008, applications for the Margot Gayle Fund and correspondence on funded Projects make up the bulk of this Folder Code.

Please note that Margot Gayle served simultaneously on VSNY's Board as well as the Friends of Cast Iron Architecture (FCIA) and some materials produced by FCIA are included in Gayle's VSNY papers.

 See also:
– Folder Code G) Preservation Advocacy
– Folder Code X) Cast Iron Advocacy

Folder Code U) Stationery
Contains extant samples of VSNY letterhead and/or envelopes. Early letterhead lists Board members and Officers and are offset printed. Later letterhead is digitally printed and without Board and Officer lists.

Folder V) Media Contacts / Press Releases
Contains NYC metropolitan area media contacts. Also includes VSNY lecture and tour announcements formatted as press releases generated by the VSNY Publicity Committee.

 See also:
– Series I, Papers, E) Lectures
– Series I, Papers, F) Tours
– Series I, Papers, H) Special Events / Parties / Fundraisers

Folder Code W) Name Change
Contents include correspondence among VSNY Board members and between VSNY and the VSA national organization regarding changing the Chapter's name to better reflect New York City and the commissioning of a new logo. The correspondence concludes in 2011 with VSA national rejecting the proposed name change but approving new artwork.

Folder Code X) Cast Iron Advocacy
Contents include materials related to the research (correspondence, maps, site photos, contracts, etc.) of cast iron buildings in SoHo in preparation for a petition to designate (NYC LPC designated, 1973) and later extend (NYC LPC designated, 2010) the SoHo Cast Iron Historic District. Contents also include promotional materials and artifacts, newspaper clippings, inventories and commissioned surveys, photographs, and correspondence with the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) concerning the applications. Also includes materials for walking tours and printed editions of  Cast Iron Architecture in New York City by Margot Gayle and Edmund V. Gillion, Jr. [Friends of Cast Iron Architecture (FCIA), ©1974, 1983; VSA Metropolitan Chapter on behalf of FCIA, ©2011].

Arrangement

The series opens with documents about the organization's history, then moves into sets of folders arranged chronologically. As noted in the Scope Note, each set, with one or two years of documents, is further arranged by subject content. This chronological and subject arrangement follows the original order of VSNY's archive.

Some materials circa 2000-circa 2015 may be available in Series II, Digital Files. For example, Board Meeting minutes for December 5, 2005 (.DOC), are available in Series II-Digital Files, but may not have been printed for the paper-based files.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Offsite-Box: 1 Folder : 1 History—Legal and Founding Documents

Scope and Contents

Among other items, includes copies of incorporation papers, tax certificates, as well as rubber stamps used for check deposits and other administration.

1966-2010
Offsite-Box: 1 Folder : 2 History—VSA Stationery and Membership Materials

Scope and Contents

Among other items, includes various printed ephemera (book plates, membership cards, letterhead, envelopes, membership brochures, etc.) bearing the VSA national logo and Philadelphia address (bulk) and undated VSNY ephemera.

circa 1980s-circa 1990s
Offsite-Box: 1 Folder : 3 History—Organizational Histories (various dates) and Margot Gayle Interviews (2001)

Scope and Contents

Organizational histories are undated. Among other items, includes printed transcript of interview(s) with Margot Gayle (2001).

Various
Offsite-Box: 1 Folder : 4 History—William (Bill) J. Dane on VSA and VSNY and Preservation

Scope and Contents

Among other items, includes transcripts of oral history interviews (2010) and administrative forms. Most transcripts are drafts without final corrections. See also Series II, Digital for original audio recordings and final, approved transcripts in .DOC format.

2002, 2010
Offsite-Box: 1 Folder : 5 History—Augustus Saint-Gaudens' Sherman Monument Restoration

Scope and Contents

Among other items, includes documents dating from the 1986 project and transcripts of oral history interviews with Billie Britz (1996?) and Margot Gayle (1996?) about the VSNY project.

circa 1986, circa 1996
Offsite-Box: 1 Folder : 6 History—Compiled List of Board Members
1967-2006
Offsite-Box: 1 Folder : 7 History—Compiled List of Annual Meeting Venues (Incomplete)

Scope and Contents

Consists of rough handwritten notes on legal pad paper, not all venues and dates have been recorded.

1982-2001
Offsite-Box: 1 Folder : 8 History—Compiled List of VSNY Lectures + Tours
1967-2006
Offsite-Box: 1 Folder : 9 History—Compiled List of VSNY Awards
1976-2005
Offsite-Box: 1 Folder : 10A History—Dorothy Miner (1938-2008), NYC LPC Attorney

Scope and Contents

Dorothy Miner (1938-2008) was chief counsel with the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) and her work there helped to create a legal process for landmark designations in the city. Among other items, contains obituaries, histories, and correspondence about her life and work.

circa 2008
Offsite-Box: 1 Folder : 10B VSNY Archives Committee

Scope and Contents

Among other items, contains correspondence, planning, progress reports, budgets and retention schedules for the VSNY archives project. Bulk is from 2017.

2004, 2005, 2017
Offsite-Box: 1 Folder : 11 VSA Files

Scope and Contents

Holds only Folder Code T, which is personal ephemera collected by Margot Gayle, 1950s.

1950s
Offsite-Box: 1 Folder : 12 VSA Files

Scope and Contents

Holds only Folder Code T, which is personal ephemera collected by Margot Gayle, 1960s.

1960s
Offsite-Box: 1 Folder : 13-28 VSNY Files
1970-1973
Offsite-Box: 1 Folder : 29-43 VSNY Files

Scope and Contents

Among other items, includes first printing of "Cast Iron Architecture in New York City" (©1974, Friends of Cast Iron Architecture); two black and white 35mm contact sheets; and deliberations about Chapters, dues, national representation, etc.

1974-1975
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 1-17 VSNY Files

Scope and Contents

Scope and Contents

Among other items, includes thermal copy of first VSA Award document.

1976-1977
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 18-31 VSNY Files

Scope and Contents

Scope and Contents

Among other items, includes black and white negatives and contact sheets.

1978-1979
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 32-47 VSNY Files

Scope and Contents

Among other items, includes color photograph prints and negatives.

1980-1982
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 48-64 VSNY Files

Scope and Contents

In 1983, VSNY was the host of the VSA National Annual Meeting. Among other items, includes planning for various events for conference attendees.

1983-1984
Offsite-Box: 3 Folder : 1-15 VSNY Files

Scope and Contents

Scope and Contents

Among other items, includes party photographs by Bob Kaufman noted as "mid-1980s."

1985
Offsite-Box: 3 Folder : 16-31 VSNY Files

Scope and Contents

Among other items, includes files from the VSNY "The Heroic Age of Sculpture Symposium" and Sherman Monument preservation project.

1986
Offsite-Box: 3 Folder : 32-49 VSNY Files

Scope and Contents

Among other items, includes Sherman Monument preservation project.

1987
Offsite-Box: 3 Folder : 50-65 VSNY Files
1988
Offsite-Box: 4 Folder : 1-16 VSNY Files

Scope and Contents

Among other items, includes black and white print of photograph of Margot Gayle and others and signed by Mayor Koch.

1989
Offsite-Box: 4 Folder : 17-32 VSNY Files
1990
Offsite-Box: 4 Folder : 33-48 VSNY Files
1991
Offsite-Box: 4 Folder : 49-57 VSNY Files (9 of 16 folders)

Scope and Contents

Among other items, includes color print, black and white prints, 35mm black and white negatives and contact sheets.

1992-1993
Offsite-Box: 5 Folder : 1-7 VSNY Files (7 of 16 folders)
1992-1993
Offsite-Box: 5 Folder : 8-22 VSNY Files
1994-1995
Offsite-Box: 5 Folder : 23-36 VSNY Files
1996-1997
Offsite-Box: 5 Folder : 37-50 VSNY Files

Scope and Contents

Among other items, includes color photo of Margot Gayle (1908-2008) with Phillip Johnson (1906-2005) and ephemera from the 1998 "Margot Gayle Birthday Bash."

1998-1999
Offsite-Box: 5 Folder : 51-59 VSNY Files (10 of 20 folders)
2000-2001
Offsite-Box: 6 Folder : 1-10 VSNY Files (10 of 20 folders)

Scope and Contents

Among other items, includes 35mm color slides of award recipient, Hudson Museum.

2000-2001
Offsite-Box: 6 Folder : 11-27 VSNY Files

Scope and Contents

Holds a floppy disk labeled as "partially defective." To the extent possible the files have been preserved; see Series II item 2001-2002_VSNY_Membership_JEggebeen.

2002
Offsite-Box: 6 Folder : 28-42 VSNY Files

Scope and Contents

Among other items, includes 35mm presentation slides of some Award nominee projects and publications. The Margot Gayle Fund was founded in 2003 and approved by Membership at the Annual Meeting.

2003
Offsite-Box: 7 Folder : 1-18 VSNY Files

Scope and Contents

Among other items, includes 35mm presentation slides; black and white photo prints of buildings considered for landmarking; color photo print of VSA Summer School attendees; and first Margot Gayle Fund grant application.

2004
Offsite-Box: 7 Folder : 19-36 VSNY Files

Scope and Contents

Among other items, holds a CD with a PowerPoint presentation. The file has been preserved; see Series II item 2005_VSNY_AnnualMtg_PresDeck. Also includes color photograph prints of Margot Gayle at 97th birthday party and NYC Proclamation; and materials for campaign to expand the SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District.

2005
Offsite-Box: 8 Folder : 1-18 VSNY Files

Scope and Contents

Among other items, includes guidelines for Margot Gayle Fund; materials for campaign to expand the SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District, proposal, walking tour, images, and PowerPoint presentation; Survey of Cast-Iron Fronts in New York City, the first Margo Gayle Fund commissioned report; contacts and letters of support; "I am A Friend of Cast Iron" fold-over metal badges; and miscellaneous research materials.

2006
Offsite-Box: 8 Folder : 19-34 VSNY Files

Scope and Contents

Among other items, includes campaign to expand the SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District.

2007
Offsite-Box: 9 Folder : 1-19 VSNY Files

Scope and Contents

Margot Gayle died in September 2008. Among other items, includes newspaper clippings about her 100th birthday and her death. Also includes campaign to expand the SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District.

2008
Offsite-Box: 9 Folder : 20-33 VSNY Files
2009
Offsite-Box: 9 Folder : 34-51 VSNY Files

Scope and Contents

Among other items, includes first materials for Hands On History classes; NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission, SoHo-Cast Iron Historic Designation District Extension, Designation Report; and VSNY "I am A Friend of Cast Iron" fold-over metal badges.

2010
Offsite-Box: 10 Folder : 1-19 VSNY Files

Scope and Contents

Among other things, holds a CD with photos of the annual meeting. The files have been preserved; see Series II item 2011_VSNY_AnnualMtg_Pics_PMargolis. Also holds a CD with a PowerPoint presentation. The file has been preserved; see Series II item 2011_TAFennimanArch_VSNY_AwardEntry. And includes copies of the third printing of "Cast Iron Architecture in New York City", produced by Friends of Cast Iron Architecture (FCIA; ©1974, 1983); and VSNY new logo sketches.

2011
Offsite-Box: 10 Folder : 20-34 VSNY Files
2012
Offsite-Box: 10 Folder : 35-50 VSNY Files
2013
Offsite-Box: 10 Folder : 51-66 VSNY Files
2014
Offsite-Box: 11 Folder : 1-13 VSNY Files

Scope and Contents

Among other items, includes testimony regarding sites in the NYC Landmark Preservation Commission (LPC) backlogged applications.

2015
Offsite-Box: 11 Folder : 14-27 VSNY Files
2016
Offsite-Box: 11 Folder : 28-43 VSNY Files
2017
Offsite-Box: 11 Folder : 44-48 VSNY Files
2018
Offsite-Box: 11 Folder : 49 VSNY Files

Scope and Contents

Holds only Folder Code H (special events).

2019
Offsite-Box: 11 Folder : 50-58 VSNY Newsletters (Redundant Copies)

Scope and Contents

Individual year folders contain up to three copies of each extant VSNY newsletter. (Not all years and issues exist.) This folder contains extra copies with some copies damaged or soiled.

1991-2014
Offsite-Box: 11 Folder : 59 VSNY Annual Meeting Invitations (Redundant Copies)

Scope and Contents

Individual year folders contain up to three copies of each extant VSNY Annual Meeting Invitation. (Not all years exist.) This folder contains extra copies with some copies damaged or soiled.

2004-2018

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