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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

Scope and Contents Note

The New-York Historical Society Library Department records group includes a broad range of material related to the administration of the Library and its component sections, including the Reading Room, Manuscripts Department, Department of Prints, Photographs and Architecture (PPAC, often referred to as the Print Room), and the Conservation Lab. The subject matter spans the entire breadth of the Library's activities: acquisition of materials for the collection, curatorial and conservation surveys and assessments, collection inventorying and cataloging projects, in-house exhibitions and outgoing loans, and patron access and use of the collections.

The record group includes correspondence and memos, surveys, management reports, statistical information, policies, planning documents, budgets, appraisals, acquisitions (purchase, donation) and sales, contracts, visitor registers, grant applications and project implementation files, exhibition files (e.g., checklists, loan agreements, label texts), cataloging worksheets, and conservation reports. Most of these records date from the last three decades of the twentieth century and into the early twenty-first century (see the Related Materials Note for most earlier documents). An exception to this are the visitor registers; though there are sizable gaps in the nineteenth century, these records date from as early as 1838. The record group also holds nineteenth century admission tickets and calling cards used to introduce and permit non-members to use library resources.

The record group holds an array of collection descriptions and inventories compiled for various purposes over time, and these range from throughout N-YHS's history. For example, there is a circa 1826 inventory of maps, John Delafield's 1833 manuscript-form catalogue of the books in the library, the 1941 inventories of material sent off-site for storage during World War II, and a card catalog of comic books deaccessioned in the 1970s. Most of these inventories were prepared by N-YHS staff, but some in the record group were prepared by the collection donor or other outside party, such as the inventory of the Lathrop Colgate Harper Spanish-American War Collection distributed by Harper's estate.

Arrangement Note

The New-York Historical Society Library records are organized in the following series:

Series I. Collection Descriptions & Inventories (1815?-2003)

Series II. Acquisition Records (1962-2001)

Series III. General Office Files (1959-2009, bulk 1980s-2002)

Series IV. Librarian & Curatorial Files (1959-2013)

Series V. Exhibitions (1969-2011, bulk 1992-2001)

Series VI. Outgoing Loans (1960-1992, bulk 1979-1992)

Series VII. Board Library Committee Matters (RESTRICTED IN PART) (1950-2015)

Series VIII. Department of Prints, Photographs and Architecture (PPAC, a/k/a Print Room) (1940-2015, bulk 1970s-2013)

Series IX. Conservation (1989-2004)

Series X. Public Service (RESTRICTED IN PART) (1829-2011)