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Guide to the New-York Historical Society Financial Records
1837-2005 (bulk 1800s-1930s, 1980s-1993)
 NYHS-RG 24

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


New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Larry Weimer

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

Descriptive Summary

Creator: New-York Historical Society
Title: New-York Historical Society financial records
Dates [inclusive]: 1837-2005 (bulk 1800s-1930s, 1980s-1993)
Abstract: Although the record group does not hold comprehensive records concerning N-YHS's financial history, there are several 19th century records (cash ledgers, mortgagee holdings documentation, bank books, etc.) that provide glimpses into N-YHS's early finances. Also there is extensive financial data (expenses, budgets, investments, etc.) for the late 1980s and early 1990s; though the timeframe is limited, it represents a period when N-YHS faced a severe fiscal crisis and so can provide insight into that pivotal moment in the organization's history. The record group also holds much information about many of N-YHS's special funds (e.g., Harper Fund) and the financial aspects of the Encyclopedia of New York City project.
Quantity: 18 Linear feet in 18 record cartons
Location: Materials in this collection may be stored offsite. For more information on making arrangements to consult them, please visit www.nyhistory.org/library/visit.
Language: The documents in the collection are in English.
Call Phrase: NYHS-RG 24

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Scope and Contents

Although the record group does not hold comprehensive records concerning N-YHS's financial history, there are several 19th century records (cash ledgers, mortgagee holdings documentation, bank books, etc.) that provide glimpses into N-YHS's early finances. Also there is extensive financial data (expenses, budgets, investments, etc.) for the late 1980s and early 1990s; though the timeframe is limited, it represents a period when N-YHS faced a severe fiscal crisis and so can provide insight into that pivotal moment in the organization's history. The record group also holds much information about many of N-YHS's special funds (e.g., Harper Fund) and the financial aspects of the Encyclopedia of New York City project.

Arrangement

The record group is organized in five series:

Series I. Investments, 1880s-1993

Series II. General Office Files, 1930s-2005

Series III. Account books, journals & ledgers, 1837-1927, 1958-1993

Series IV. Working files, 1988-1993

Series V. Encyclopedia of New York City Files, 1988-1991

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Access Points

Document Type

  • Financial records.
  • Mortgages.

Subject Organizations

  • New-York Historical Society -- Archives.

Subject Topics

  • Institutional investments.
  • Endowments -- Program-related investments.
  • Learned institutions and societies --  New York (State) --  New York --  Management.
  • Libraries and institutions  --  New York (State) --  New York --  Management.
  • Museums --  New York (State) --  New York --  Management.

Subject Places

  • New York (N.Y.) -- History -- Societies, etc.

Subject Uniform Title(s)

  • Encyclopedia of New York City

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Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Materials in this collection may be stored offsite. For more information on making arrangements to consult them, please visit www.nyhistory.org/library/visit.

Use Restrictions

Taking images of documents from the library collections for reference purposes by using hand-held cameras and in accordance with the library's photography guidelines is encouraged. As an alternative, patrons may request up to 20 images per day from staff. Application to use images from this collection for publication should be made in writing to: Department of Rights and Reproductions, The New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024-5194, rightsandrepro@nyhistory.org. Phone: (212) 873-3400 ext. 282.

Copyrights and other proprietary rights may subsist in individuals and entities other than the New-York Historical Society, in which case the patron is responsible for securing permission from those parties. For fuller information about rights and reproductions from N-YHS visit: https://www.nyhistory.org/about/rights-reproductions

Preferred Citation

The collection should be cited as: New-York Historical Society financial records, NYHS-RG 24, New-York Historical Society.

Related Materials

This finding aid relates to just one record group of the New-York Historical Society archives. Additional correspondence about N-YHS financial matters can be found throughout the General Correspondence record group (RG 2). Lists of expenses and investments, related resolutions, etc. can be found in the minutes of the Society and the Executive Committee (RG 1). Record groups for building construction (RG 3 and RG 4) have expense records for those projects. For information about the other record groups and for overall information about the archives, please see the overview Guide to the New-York Historical Society Archives (NYHS Archives).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Most of the content of the record group was found in the archives at the time of the institutional archives project of 2015-16. The bulk of Series II was transfered to the archives by the Accounting & Finance Department in March 2020.

Processing Information

The record group was processed by archivist Larry Weimer in September 2022.

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Container List

Series I. Investments, 1880s-1993

Scope and Contents

The series holds some documents related to some of the mortgages, securities and other investments held by N-YHS from the 1880s to the 1940s and then in the early 1990s.

Arrangement

The series is organized in two subseries:

Subseries I.A. Mortgage Investments, 1880s-1944

Subseries I.B. Fiduciary Trust Reports, 1990-1993

Subseries I.A. Mortgage Investments, 1880s-1944

Scope and Contents

The subseries holds correspondence and some insurance policies related to N-YHS's investment of its funds in mortgages in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Related Materials

Much of this documentation was taken from the General Correspondence (RG-2) files. It is likely that more such material remains in those files and should be referred to. Also, approvals, modifications, etc. of mortgages and other investments were made by N-YHS's Executive Committee through the late 1930s and the minute books of that Committee in the Management Committee records (RG-1) can be consulted. Those minutes have been digitized and can be viewed on-line.

Arrangement

The series is arranged in chronological order. Files for the 1930s are further arranged by property/mortgagor, though not etailed in the finding aid.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Offsite-Box: 1 Folder : 1 Investments/mortgage documents
1880s
Offsite-Box: 1 Folder : 2 Investments/mortgage documents
1890s
Offsite-Box: 1 Folder : 3 Insurance policies (24) on properties
1860s-1890s
Offsite-Box: 1 Folder : 4 Investments/mortgage documents
1900-1908
Offsite-Box: 1 Folder : 5-6 Investments/mortgage documents (2 folders)

Scope and Contents

These documents were originally inside the front cover of the 1910-27 cash deposits journal (see below folder 33).

circa 1913-1928
Offsite-Box: 1 Folder : 7-31 Investments/mortgage documents (26 folders)
1928-1944

Subseries I.B. Fiduciary Trust Reports, 1990-1993

Scope and Contents

The subseries includes the monthly reports received by N-YHS from Fiduciary Trust International, the custodian of the organization's investments/securities holdings. These reports include schedules of investment at month-end, with portfolio characteristics and descriptions of activity in the accounts. Individual reports are present for the General Operating account and for the various segregated special purpose funds.

Arrangement

The subseries is arranged by fund and then chronologically within each fund.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Offsite-Box: 7 Folder : 1-4 Bryan Principal Fund reports (4 folders)
1990 July-1992 June
Offsite-Box: 9 Folder : 11-12 Bryan Principal Fund (2 folders)
1992 July-1993 June
Offsite-Box: 7 Folder : 5-8 Harper Fund (4 folders)
1990 July-1992 June
Offsite-Box: 10 Folder : 1-2 Harper Fund (2 folders)
1992 July-1993 June
Offsite-Box: 7 Folder : 9-10 Matched Expense Account (2 folders)
1990 July-1992 June
Offsite-Box: 8 Folder : 1-4 Mellon Endowment Fund (4 folders)
1990 July-1992 June
Offsite-Box: 10 Folder : 6-7 Mellon Endowment Fund (2 folders)
1992 July-1993 June
Offsite-Box: 8 Folder : 6-7 Mellon Bridging Fund (2 folders)
1990 July-1992 June
Offsite-Box: 8 Folder : 7-10 General Operating Account (4 folders)
1990 July-1992 June
Offsite-Box: 10 Folder : 3-4 General Operating Account (2 folders)
1992 July-1993 June
Offsite-Box: 9 Folder : 1-4 DeWitt Wallace-Readers Digest Public Education Fund (4 folders)
1990 July-1992 June
Offsite-Box: 10 Folder : 7-8 DeWitt Wallace-Readers Digest Public Education Fund (2 folders)
1992 July-1993 June
Offsite-Box: 9 Folder : 5-7 DeWitt Wallace Endowment Fund (3 folders)
1991 February-1992 June
Offsite-Box: 10 Folder : 9-10 DeWitt Wallace Endowment Fund (2 folders)
1992 July-1993 June
Offsite-Box: 9 Folder : 8-10 Starr Foundation Endowment Fund (3 folders)
1991 April-1992 June
Offsite-Box: 10 Folder : 11-12 Starr Foundation Endowment Fund (2 folders)
1992 July-1993 June
Offsite-Box: 11 Folder : 1-16 Fiduciary Trust reports (16 folders)

Scope and Contents

Includes the original packet of reports from Fiduciary Trust for the period 1992 September-1993 December. These are likely redundant of the above data through June 1993. Some of the packets have additionial documents, such as economic forecasts. At June 1993 there is an additional report from investment consultants, Colonial Consulting.

1992 September-1993 December

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Series II. General Office Files, 1930s-2005 (bulk 1970s-1990s)

Scope and Contents

The series includes files compiled by the accounting and finance department primarily related to various endowment and memorial funds established by N-YHS over time. The files hold mostly photocopies of documents, but several files hold originals. Most of the files are somewhat slender, but files that hold a subtantial number of documents include those related to the Bryan Fund, Harper Fund, and Wilbur Fund. The files also hold information about some project grants, including those from the Mellon Foundation, NEH, and others, and audited financial statements from 1985-2004 with some gaps.

Arrangement

The series is arranged roughly by topic with files on the special funds, which make up most of the series, preceding other topics.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Offsite-Box: 3 Folder : 1-14 General information about N-YHS endowment and memorial funds (14 folders)
1970s-1990s
Offsite-Box: 3 Folder : 15-35 Files on specific endowment and memorial funds (21 folders)

Scope and Contents

These files include funds named for Waldron Phoenix Belknap (2 folders), Margaret L. Brown, Bryan Fund (6 folders), Levon Hein Chutjian, Thomas S. DaPonte, DeGroot, Edward Delafield, De Menil (2 folders), John DePeyster, Richard Varick Dey, Asher B. Durand, Louis Durr, Goelet, and Goldsmith.

1970s-1990s
Offsite-Box: 4 Folder : 1-11 Harper Fund (11 folders)

Scope and Contents

These files have several original documents about the Fund dating from the 1950s.

1950s-1990s
Offsite-Box: 4 Folder : 12-44 Files on specific endowment and memorial funds (34 folders)

Scope and Contents

Funds includes are those named for Harriman (3 folders), Hearst (3 folders), Hoffman, Ide, John Divine Jones, Leech, LeBoeuf, McKesson, Middledorf, Cornelia Post Mitchell, Doris R. Morton, Muhlenfels, Naval History Society, Orvis, Paltsits, Pell (3 folders), Phoenix, Ruth Samuel (2 folders), Sloan, Slocum, Sons of Rhode Island, Sotheby's, Starr, von Kienbush, Wallace, and Warner.

1970s-1990s
Offsite-Box: 4 Folder : 45-46 John J. Watson Fund (2 folders)

Scope and Contents

These folders hold original 1940s-1950s documents, including correspondence between N-YHS curator Donald Shelley and Eliza Watson.

1940s-1950s
Offsite-Box: 4 Folder : 47 James B. Wilbur Fund

Scope and Contents

These folder hold original documents from the 1930s re: the related case State of Vermont against Bankers Trust Company, et al.

1930s, 1990s
Offsite-Box: 5 Folder : 1-12 Mellon Foundation Grants & Matching Funds (12 folders)
1970s-1990s
Offsite-Box: 5 Folder : 13-33 Other Funding Sources (21 folders)

Scope and Contents

Holds files on grants from NEH, NHPRC, state sources, and other grants for some programs and exhibitions.

1980s-circa 2005
Offsite-Box: 6 Folder : 1-2 Reinstatement of Property Tax Exemption (2 folders)
1972-1973
Offsite-Box: 6 Folder : 3 Financial Data for Attorney General
1990s
Offsite-Box: 6 Folder : 4 Golden Loan
1990s
Offsite-Box: 11 Folder : 17-24 Audited Financial Statements (8 folders)

Scope and Contents

The audited financials for 1994 are not here, but the 1994 year-end figures are in the 1995 report. 1996 and 2001-02 are not here. 1989 also has a copy of the Form 990; that Form is not in the files for any other year.

1985-1995, 1997-2000, 2003-2004
Offsite-Box: 13 Folder : 1 Various financial statements

Scope and Contents

Informal balance sheets and income statements with various year to year comparisons for 1983-1988

1983-1988

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Series III. Account Books, Journals & Ledgers, 1837-1927, 1958-1993

Scope and Contents

The series holds several cash account books and other similar accounting records for the 19th century and into the early 20th century. The container list identifies all of these and their date ranges. These early records are not comprehensive and there is a sizable mid-20th century gap in the series. More detailed are reports ranging from the mid 1980s to 1993, especially with respect to budget and actual expenses.

Scope and Contents

The series is arranged roughly in chronological order and by type of accounting record.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Offsite-Box: 1 Folder : 33 Cash accounts/journals (3)
1837-1873
Offsite-Box: 1 Folder : 34 "Blotter"/Cash deposits journal

Scope and Contents

This volume held a great number of loose documents related to mortgages inside the front cover; these were moved to separate folders above (#5-6).

1910-1927
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 1 Checks

Scope and Contents

A small number of endorsed checks.

1838-1839
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 2 Signed receipts for payments from N-YHS
1837-1840
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 3 Librarian account book
1848-1858
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 4 Accounts with W.W. Blennerhassett (binding)
1855-1856
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 5 Petty cash account books
1871-1904
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 6-7 Bank books. General Account (2 folders)
1866-1907
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 8-9 Bank books. Special accounts (2 folders)

Scope and Contents

Holds: Phoenix Fund (1898-1913); Durr Gallery Fund (1903-1913); New York Views Fund (1910-1913); Watson Binding Fund (1910-1913); and De Peyster Memorial Fund (1911-1913).

1898-1913
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 10 Bank book & pledge cards. Founders Fund
1906-1913
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 11 Subscription receipt books

Scope and Contents

2 books: for a portrait of Luther Bradish (1864-65); for a portrait of Francis L. Hawks (1867-71).

1864-1870
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 12 Catalogue account/sales book
1869-1876
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 13 Check book. Hudson-Fulton exhibition
1909-1910
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 14 Wage book (Payroll)
1916-1920
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 15 Air conditioning & building renovation fund drive journal
1961-1970
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 16-17 Harper Fund ledgers (2)
1958-1985 (bulk 1970s-1983)
Offsite-Box: 6 Folder : 5 General ledger
1982
Offsite-Box: 6 Folder : 6-7 Investment register/ledger (2)
1985
Offsite-Box: 12 Folder : 1 Trial balances
1985
Offsite-Box: 12 Folder : 2 Cash receipts journal

Scope and Contents

Provides daily detail of the sources of cash revenue for the calendar year.

1985
Offsite-Box: 14 Expense by account report and actual vs. budget reports for full year FY1987
1986-1987
Offsite-Box: 13 Folder : 2-5 Actual vs. Budget monthly reports (4 folders)

Scope and Contents

Not all months are in the folders, but the reports include year-to-date figures. Most or all are focused on Library operations.

1989 October-1992 June
Offsite-Box: 12 Folder : 3 Expense vs. budget, general ledger trial, pre-audit financial statements for FY 1991
1991
Offsite-Box: 13 Folder : 6 Actual and budget reports for FY 1991
1990-1991
Offsite-Box: 13 Folder : 7-10 Actual and budget reports for FY 1992 (4 folders)
1991-1992
Offsite-Box: 13 Folder : 11-13 Actual and budget reports for FY 1993 (3 folders)
1992-1993
Offsite-Box: 13 Folder : 14 Deferred income reports
1990-1992
Offsite-Box: 15 Folder : 1-36 Monthly reports (36 folders)

Scope and Contents

Monthly files with system-generated reports of various financial data.

1990 July-1993 June

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Series IV. Working Files, 1988-1993

Scope and Contents

The series comprises various original files with detailed workpapers estimating expenses, etc., primarily for the early 1990s. These files also hold general information including chart of accounts, billing coding, staff/position lists, etc.

Scope and Contents

The series holds a mix of original files that were found in no particular order.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Offsite-Box: 13 Folder : 15-16 Working files (2 folders)
1989-1990
Offsite-Box: 16 Working files (42 folders)
1988-1993

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Series V. Encyclopedia of New York City Files, 1988-1991

Scope and Contents

The series holds original administrative working files for the Encyclopedia project, including expense summaries, fundraising, budgets, reports, correspondence, advisory board notes, and NEH application and related materials.

Arrangement

The original files remain in their original order as found in the archives, though there is no apparent order to them.

Container 1     Title Date
Offsite-Box: 17 Encyclopedia of New York City Files (Box 1 of 2)
1988-1991
Offsite-Box: 18 Encyclopedia of New York City Files (Box 2 of 2)
1988-1991

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