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Guide to the New-York Historical Society Field Exploration Committee Photographs
1891-1930s
 NYHS-RG 6

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


New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Margaret Kaczorowski

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on May 23, 2018
English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Scope and Contents Note

The New-York Historical Society Field Exploration Committee (FEC) photographs record group consists mainly of photographs and other images of objects of military character (e.g., American and British soldier uniform buttons, caps, leaden seals, and coins) connected with the events of the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. These objects were photographed and mounted for exhibitions (alongside labels included in the record group) at N-YHS and Morris-Jumel Mansion, which had served as Washington's headquarters during the Revolution. Much of the record group consists of glass plate negatives of various sizes, as well as film negatives of the military sites explored and objects discovered.

In addition to the photographs, the record group includes a catalogue of "objects found and studied by the Field Exploration Committee of the New-York Historical Society; also similar objects donated to, or otherwise acquired by, the Society." This catalogue was compiled by FEC Chairman William L. Calver and includes handwritten descriptions, drawings, and some photographs of the various found objects. This catalogue was formerly held within N-YHS's Museum Department and inventoried under the number INV.5765.

The majority of objects found and photographed were discovered at former Revolutionary camp sites in upper Manhattan (Washington Heights and Inwood) and the Bronx by the FEC at a time before construction of housing in those areas. These photos and accompanying documentation informed the series of articles written by William L. Calver and Reginald P. Bolton for the N-YHS Quarterly Bulletin publication between 1918 and 1938. Box 1 holds copies of the  Bulletin issues that contain these articles. Included is   Relics of the Revolution, an agreement between Bolton and the Washington Headquarters Association (Morris-Jumel Museum) transferring ownership of Bolton's Collection of Revolutionary relics on exhibition in the Guard Room of Washington Headquarters to the Association.

The bulk of the negatives are 4 x 5 glass plates of photographs taken primarily by William L. Calver. Box 15 contains 5 x 7 film negatives of photographs taken by Calver and other individuals, and box 16 contains 8 x 10 glass negatives of photographs taken by various individuals. Each negative is held in an envelope that includes identifying information.

Arrangement Note

This collection is arranged into 16 boxes consisting of documents and photo negatives. Documents, primarily photographic prints, are housed in one records box containing 17 individual folders and Quarterly Bulletin journals. Photo negatives are housed in 11 boxes containing 4 x 5 glass plate negatives; one box containing 3 x 4 glass negatives; one box containing 5 x 7 glass negatives; one box containing 5 x 7 film negatives; and one box containing 8 x 10 glass negatives and one 8 x 10 film negative.

All negatives were assigned a control number at some point by N-YHS and within each box the negatives are in sequence order, though there are gaps. The container list refers to the range of sequence numbers within each box.