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Guide to the Irving S. Olds Collection of
Naval and Other Historical Prints and Related Papers
1587-1960
 PR 47

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


New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Alison Barr and Larry Weimer

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on March 01, 2019
Finding aid is written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Available by advance appointment only. To schedule an appointment, contact the Print Room Librarian at printroom@nyhistory.org.

Use Restrictions

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. 212-485-9228

Preferred Citation Note

This collection should be cited as: Irving S. Olds Collection of Naval and Other Historical Prints and Related Papers, PR 47, Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections, The New-York Historical Society.

Related Materials Note

The bequest of Irving Olds, of which this print collection was a part, included a wide variety of documents and objects. These were distributed to various curatorial departments of N-YHS. The museum holds paintings, watercolors, furniture, and other such objects. The library holds books, broadsides, letters from Oliver Wendell Holmes, and other documents, which are cataloged in Bobcat. The largest portion of Olds's personal papers held at N-YHS are the Irving Olds papers (MS 325); these are currently being processed and cataloged and will be opened for use in May 2019.

The original Olds print collection was documented in a catalogue and two supplements; annotated versions of these are available in the N-YHS library:

Original 1952 catalogue, with supplementary pages, covering objects numbered 1-834: "American naval and other historical prints and paintings, including portraits of American naval commanders and some early views of New York." Call phrase: Print Room Reference NE215.U5 O53 1951.

Circa 1958 supplement, covering objects 835 to 943: "Additional prints, paintings, etc., which were not included in the 1952 published list of American naval and other historical prints and paintings, portraits of American naval commanders and some early views of New York : supplement." Call phrase: Print Room Reference NE215.U5 O53 1952 Suppl. 1.

1962 supplement, covering objects 944 to 1219: "Items not published in the 1952 published list and subsequent supplement of American naval and other historical prints and paintings : second supplement (June 1962)." Call phrase: Print Room Reference NE215.U5 O53 1952 Suppl. 2.

Immediate Source of Acquisition Note

Most of the collection, which comprises Series I, was bequeathed to N-YHS by Irving Olds in 1963. The balance of the collection, comprising Series II, was donated to N-YHS in May 2018 by Olds's former law firm, White & Case.

Processing Information Note

The processing history of the Olds collection is not entirely known. By the early 1990s, most of the prints that were originally framed were unframed and the collection was rehoused in archival folders. Additional prints were unframed and added to the folders in 1999. Description of the collection, though, was generally limited to the original Olds catalogues of the 1950s and 1960s, a card catalog prepared likely in the 1960s by N-YHS, and a summary on-line catalog entry.

In 2018, spurred by the donation of about 120 additional Olds collection prints from White & Case, a project was undertaken to complete a more comprehensive on-line inventory. Primarily using existing object level catalogues and other records, as well as some review of the objects themselves, volunteer Alison Barr created an on-line item-level inventory/container list for both the original 1963 bequest and the 2018 donation. Archivist Larry Weimer structured the overall finding aid, added collection and series level notes, and processed the set of personal papers (Subseries I.B). This description was completed in early 2019 and the finding aid was published at that time.

All prints received in 2018 from White & Case were in frames; these were removed by, or under the guidance of, conservator Alan Balicki. The portion of any backing that included labels was retained in the collection with the prints. An inventory number assigned by White & Case was typically found on the backing of the print or elsewhere; this was transcribed by the conservator on to the print.