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James Reuel Smith Springs and Wells Photographs and Papers
1890s-1930s
 PR 62

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


New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Miranda Schwartz (2000s); Larry Weimer (2021)

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on December 17, 2021
The finding aid is written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Container List

Series IV: Springs and Wells Manuscript Material, 1890s-1930s

Scope and Contents note

The series primarily contains James Reuel Smith's draft texts, file of research notes, indexes, classifications, reference materials, and maps with push pins marking locations. These relate principally to his Springs and Wells of Manhattan and the Bronx, New York City, at the End of the Nineteenth Century, and also his book on springs and wells in Greek and Roman literature. The series also includes a small number of photographs of Smith and subjects other than springs and wells. Although Smith seems to have taken his photographs in 1897-1901, the date range of this series extends into the 1930s as it reflects the timing of subsequent research and writing by Smith and, to some uncertain extent, the use of the material by N-YHS in preparing/editing Smith's manuscripts for publication.

Arrangement

The series is organized in two subseries:

Subseries IV.A. Written Material and Notes

Subseries IV.B. Visual Material

Subseries IV.A: Written Material and Notes, 1890s-1930s

Scope and Contents

The subseries contains Smith's extensive key to the many printed iterations of the photographs he took for Springs and Wells. He called this document "Analysis of Photograph Subjects (Vicinages of SPRINGS & WELLS, Dates of Negatives Nos., &c, &c and List 'D' of SPRINGS & WELLS)". Utilizing a complex coding system of his own devising, this document provides information on exact locations and cameras used, as well as a key to the numbering, classification, and identification of the prints. Researchers interested in the Springs and Wells Collection would benefit from studying, decoding, and mastering this index thoroughly.

The subseries also includes two hand-bound manuscripts: "Wells, Pumps, Cisterns" and "Springs, for revision." "Wells, Pumps, Cisterns" is a handwritten manuscript; it is subtitled Queens, Hoboken Spg, Minnesota Giant Spg, Bath, Eng., Spg, Venice Wells. "Springs" is mimeographed but has extensive handwritten notes by the author. It discusses New York City springs, which Smith investigated thoroughly, but its text does not seem to exactly overlap with the author's introduction to Springs and Wells. Perhaps it is a longer text from which the author adapted his shorter introduction.

The subseries also holds Smith's files of research notes, clippings, tearsheets, indexes, and other documents used for both Manhattan & Bronx springs and wells and for his work on springs and wells in Greek and Roman literature. Original artifacts in the subseries include a set of four framed maps with push pins identifying locations and descriptive notes, and two of the original wood boxes that Smith used to hold his files.

Arrangement

The subseries is roughly arranged by format, with manuscript material and indexes first, followed by the research files and rough notes. The notes remain in the number coded order that Smith maintained. Unfortunately, much of the numbering is attached to newspaper cuttings and other acidic material that Smith used as wraps, and so they are fragile and crumbling.

Processing Information

The research files and other material in boxes 18-23 was separated from the rest of the collection at some point, but not cataloged or otherwise processed. In December 2021, this material was returned to the collection and the finding aid revised to account for it by archivist Larry Weimer.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Offsite-Box: 8 Folder : 22 Springs and Wells-Analysis of Photograph Subjects by James Reuel Smith
1897-1901
Offsite-Box: 8 Folder : 23 Manuscripts: "Wells, Pumps, Cisterns"; "Springs, for revision"
1897-1901
Offsite-Box: 8 Folder : 24 Handwritten Notes
1897-1901
Offsite-Box: 8 Folder : 25 Handwritten Draft
1897-1901
Offsite-Box: 18 Drafts, notes, indexes, classifications (14 folders)

Scope and Contents

Also holds a folder of notes by N-YHS assistant librarian Hugh Flick describing the collection content as received at N-YHS, and the collection title rubber stamp.

circa 1890s-1930s
Offsite-Box: 19 Notes, clippings, tearsheets (16 folders)

Scope and Contents

Also holds one folder of letters to Smith answering his inquiries for information. These files were taken, in large part, from Smith's original wood box #27.

circa 1890s-1930s
Offsite-Box: 20 Folios(?) #610 to 613 (notes and clippings) (12 folders)

Scope and Contents

These files were taken, in large part, from Smith's original wood box #3.

circa 1890s-1930s
Offsite-Box: 21 Folios(?) #614 to 685 (notes and clippings) (12 folders)

Scope and Contents

These files were taken, in large part, from Smith's original wood box #15.

circa 1890s-1930s
Offsite-Box: 22 Framed maps with push pins and index to descriptions, in original Smith file box (Box 1 of 2)

Scope and Contents

4 framed segments of a street map of Manhattan and the Bronx, with small, numbered push pins, presumably marking the locations of springs and wells, with cross-references on back to explanatory notes in the collection.

1919?
Offsite-Box: 23 Framed maps with push pins and index to descriptions, in original Smith file box (Box 2 of 2)
1919?

Subseries IV.B: Visual Material, 1897-1901, undated

Scope and Contents

This subseries contains unidentified photographs, including a folder of mounted prints and a folder of photographs of Smith. The last folder in the subseries is miscellaneous, unrelated mounted prints. A few are of barges and ships; others of people. Locations and dates cannot be determined.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Offsite-Box: 8 Folder : 26 Unidentified Photographs
unknown
Offsite-Box: 9 Folder : 27 Small Mounted Prints
1897-1901
Offsite-Box: 9 Folder : 28 Prints
1897-1901
Offsite-Box: 10 Folder : 29 Photographs of James Reuel Smith
unknown
Offsite-Box: 10 Folder : 30 Miscelleanous, Unrelated Photographs
unknown

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