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Guide to the New-York Historical Society Collection Accession Registers
1841-1962, 2002
 NYHS-RG 15

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


© 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Larry Weimer

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on May 18, 2017
English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Scope and Contents Note

The record group includes the oversize registers of accessions (or, "additions") to New-York Historical Society's collections from December 1841 to 1962. The comprehensiveness of these registers is not known. Recognizable gaps occur in the 1840s and 1850s, with sustained entries beginning in 1861. The earliest entries seem to be donations only; it is unclear when purchases began to be recorded, though these seem to appear regularly by 1879.

There is one set of registers that include accessions of all types of material until 1924. Beginning in 1924, different registers were used for museum, manuscript and library materials. Beginning in 1942, map and Print Room materials, formerly found in the Library register, were entered to a separate register.

Entries for museum accessions ended by 1945. Entries for all other accessions continued until 1962.

The entries are often very detailed, often listing individual items such as photographs, negatives or books. Purchased items often indicate the price paid and the source of funds. Monthly or annual totals by category of object type are found throughout the registers.

It appears that from 1957-1962 purchases and donations were recorded in separate sections of the registers, sometimes with many blank pages between the sections. Researchers should be sure not to overlook these separate sections.

Loose documents were found behind the covers or between pages of some of the registers. These were typically worksheets totaling accession counts, additional notes or details on particular donations, and small notes and other incidental documents. The container list notes in which registers loose documents were found. Loose documents of an atypical nature are noted in the container list. Among these is a procedural document for accessioning library material, found in the 1950-1952 register.

Several of the registers are stamped as having been bound in the 1930s or in 1951 by N-YHS's Bindery. These are noted in the container list.

Arrangement Note

The record group includes 39 volumes that advance in rough chronological order (a 40th volume is blank). For the earliest years in the record group (1840s until about 1870), there is some inconsistency in the sequence of the registers. From about 1870 to 1924, the registers are reliably chronological across the entire collection. In 1924, arrangement took on a format dimension as museum and manuscript accessions were entered into separate registers from library accessions; in 1952, map and Print Room materials also began to be recorded in separate registers. Nonetheless, within each format, the arrangement remained chronological.

Some loose documents were found in the registers. These were removed and foldered in a document box as noted in the container list. There are notes in the folder as to where precisely the documents were found in each accession register.