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Guide to the New-York Historical Society Library Department Records
1815-2017
 NYHS-RG 21

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 December 30, 2018
English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Container List

Series X. Public Service (RESTRICTED IN PART), 1829-2011. 35.58 Linear Feet

Arrangement Note

The Public Service series is organized in the following subseries:

Subseries X.A. Visitor Sign-in Registers and Related Material (1829-2010)

Subseries X.B. Reading Room Records (1949-2007)

Subseries X.C. Print Room Public Service Records (1942-2008)

Scope and Contents Note

The Public Service series primarily includes the visitor sign-in registers for the library's main Reading Room and its separate Print Room. The bulk of these date from the twentieth century, but there are some registers from the nineteenth century. From the nineteenth century, the series also holds a Librarian Receipt Book used to record books borrowed by the members and admission tickets and cards of introduction for non-members.

Although the series hold correspondence and print-outs of emails with reference inquiries, the bulk of these are from recent years and are therefore restricted and not available for public access. Some such letters from the 1950s-1970s are in the series and are available.

Related Archival Materials Note

Reference correspondence for the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries can be found in the central correspondence files maintained by N-YHS; see New-York Historical Society General Correspondence (NYHS-RG 2). Reference correspondence from the mid-twentieth century can be found in the New-York Historical Society Librarian Dorothy C. Barck records (NYHS-RG 19). Some inquiries and correspondence concerning permissions to quote from N-YHS resources, principally that answered by curatorial staff, can also be found in the other series of this record group.

Processing Information Note

This subseries was processed by project archivists Margaret Kaczorowski and Larry Weimer in December 2016.

Access Restrictions

Late twentieth and early twenty-first reference inquiries in the form of correspondence and print-outs of emails from patrons are currently restricted and are not available for public access.

Subseries X.A. Visitor Sign-in Registers and Related Material, 1829-2010. 16.29 Linear Feet

Scope and Contents Note

The subseries primarily includes the books or loose sheets that visitors were required to sign when using N-YHS's resources, principally in connection with access to the library's holdings. The bulk of these records date from about 1909-2010 and record both member and non-member use of the library. A few records from the nineteenth and early twentieth century, from as early as 1838, include non-member visits, but there are relatively few of these, and there are sizable gaps in the date coverage. These records hold only spare indicators of individual visits, with no details such as specific resources used. Any such detailed records that might exist are not held in the institutional archive.

In addition to the required sign-ins, the subseries includes a ceremonial "Register of Distinguished Visitors" that includes signatures from three events: the 1939 opening of the renovated N-YHS building, the 1954 dinner held at the Union Club to celebrate N-YHS's 150th anniversary, and the 1957 event for the 200th anniversary of Lafayette's birth. Other registers include visitor comment books (1990-1992, 2005-2007) on the galleries and various exhibitions. The subseries does not include comment books from specific exhibitions; these can be found with the files of the pertinent exhibition, principally in the New-York Historical Society Museum Department records (NYHS-RG 20).

The subseries also includes various documents related to visitors and access to N-YHS resources. These include a Librarian Receipt Book in which books borrowed from the library, a member privilege in the organization's early years, were recorded (1829-1853); daily visitor counts from certain periods (1869, 1918-1937, and 1987-1990); and member and non-member admission cards (mostly undated but likely from the mid-late 1800s).

Arrangement Note

The subseries opens with the visitor sign-in books and sheets, followed by the various forms of related material.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Volume: RG21 Volume : 4 Visitors Register
1838-1846
Volume: RG21 Volume : 5 Visitors Register

Scope and Contents Note

Entries for October 1868 and October 1889 consist of the names of delegates to the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church held in New York City in those years. The register has no entries for 1869 and 1871. The entry for April 5, 1872 consists of sign-ins from six Asian individuals.

1859-1873, 1889
Box: 294 Folder : 1 Visitors Register
1903-1907
Box: 294 Folder : 2 Visitors Register
1908-1909
Box: 294 Folder : 3 Visitors Register
1909
Volume: RG21 Volume : 6-9 Visitors Register (4 volumes)
1909-1927
Volume: RG21 Volume : 10-14 Visitors Register (5 volumes)
1927-1937
Volume: RG21 Volume : 15-54 Visitors Register. Library (40 volumes)
1939-1979
Box: 295 Folder : - Visitors Register. Library

Scope and Contents Note

Entries for January 4, 1984 begin here and continue in Box 296.

1980-1984
Box: 296 Folder : - Visitors Register. Library
1984-1988 March
Box: 297 Folder : 1-9 Visitors Register. Library
1988 March-1995
Box: 298 Folder : 1-9 Visitors Register. Library
1996-2000
Box: 299 Folder : 1-9 Visitors Register. Library
2001-2005
Box: 300 Folder : 1-10 Visitors Register. Library
2006-2010
Box: 305 Item : - Register of Distinguished Visitors to N-YHS

Scope and Contents Note

Includes visitors from the official opening in 1939 of the renovated N-YHS building; a dinner held at the Union Club in 1954 to celebrate N-YHS's 150th anniversary; and signatures of Marquis de Lafayette's descendants on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of his birth

1939, 1954, 1957
Box: 306 Folder : 1 Guest Register

Scope and Contents Note

The purpose for this register is unknown.

1988-1989
Box: 306 Folder : 2 Guest Register

Scope and Contents Note

Entries for visitors to N-YHS events and exhibitions including Paris 1889 opening, Luman Reed Gallery opening, Mary Dieryck's Politicians and Panoramas, and Hope Cooke's  Early Guide Books to NYC.

1990-1992
Box: 306 Folder : 3 General Gallery Comment Books (3 books)

Scope and Contents Note

Entries include comments from visitors about exhibitions including First Ladies of New York and the Nation, Thomas Paine: Patriot and Provocateur, A New Light on Tiffany, Slavery in New York, and New York Divided: Slavery and the Civil War.

2005-2007
Box: 307 Item : - Librarian Receipt Book

Scope and Contents Note

This bound book contains a record of N-YHS materials loaned to members, the name of the item loaned, and signatures of librarians and dates documenting the return of item. Includes a receipt by Washington Irving dated January 28, 1848.

1829-1853
Box: 294 Folder : 4 Visitors Log

Scope and Contents Note

Record of the number of patrons visited the museum (includes groups such as Baptist Church) each day between January 1 and December 31, 1869.

1869
Box: 294 Folder : 5-6 Building Attendance Statistics (2 folders)

Scope and Contents Note

Consists of attendance statistics with daily and weekly totals per month, as well as totals for lectures given.

1918-1937
Box: 308 Cards : - Building Daily Attendance Counts
1987-1990
Box: 309 Cards : - Member's Tickets
circa 1860s-1880s?
Box: 309 Cards : - Lecture Admission Tickets
circa 1860s-1880s?
Box: 309 Cards : - Tickets of Introduction
circa 1860?
Box: 309 Cards : - Calling Card Introductions
circa 1860s-1880s?

Subseries X.B. Reading Room Records, 1949-2011. 10.58 Linear Feet

Arrangement Note

The subseries is arranged chronologically within format.

Scope and Contents Note

The bulk of the subseries includes late twentieth and early twenty-first reference inquiries in the form of correspondence and print-outs of emails; these recent documents, however, are currently restricted and are not available for public access. Earlier materials and logs are accessible. These include the correspondence of Geraldine Beard, the head of the Reading Room from the late 1940s until the early 1960s. There are also a few logs of books called and letters received for some periods in the 1960s and 1970s.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 310 Folder : 1 Geraldine Beard Acknowledgements
1952-1964
Box: 310 Folder : 2-10 Geraldine Beard Correspondence
1949-1964
Box: 311 Folder : 1-8 Sue A. Gillies Correspondence
1971-1980
Box: 311 Folder : 9 Books Called (3 notebooks)
1973-1998
Box: 311 Folder : 10-11 Daily Letters Received (2 logbooks)
1968-1974
Box: 311 Folder : 12 Daily Letters Received (1 logbook)
1974-1976, 1980
Box: 312 Folder : 1 Statistics of Copies Made
1985
Box: 313 Folder : 1-4 Reading Room. Telephone Reference Questions (4 folders)
1989-1991, 2000
Box: 313 Folder : 5-6 Reading Room. Reference Call Log Sheets
1991-1992
Box: 314 Folder : 1-4 Reading Room. Reference Call Log Sheets
1993-1996
Box: 314 Folder : 5 Reading Room Coverage
1995
Box: 321 Folder : 1-5 Manuscript Department. Telephone Reference Questions
1989-1991

Subseries X.C. Print Room Public Service Records, 1942-2008. 8.71 Linear Feet

Arrangement Note

The subseries is arranged chronologically within format.

Scope and Contents Note

The subseries primarily holds the sign-in sheets and appointment calendars for users of material in the Print Room, which was run apart from the library's main Reading Room. The subseries also holds a small amount of reference inquiries, which are currently restricted and are not available for public access.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 301 Folder : - Visitors Register. Print Room
1942-1959
Box: 302 Folder : - Visitors Register. Print Room
1960-1979
Box: 303 Folder : - Visitors Register. Print Room
1980-1992
Box: 304 Folder : 1-2 Visitors Register. Print Room
2000-2002;2004-2008
Box: 311 Folder : 13 Print Room. Telephone Registers (2 notebooks)
1966 December-1977
Box: 335 Item : - Print Room. Appointment Books

Scope and Contents Note

Missing 2001 book.

1978-1989, 1999-2007

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