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Guide to the Records of the Washington Arch
1872-1925 (Bulk 1889-1895)
  MS 443.30

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


@ 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Liz Arena

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on November 04, 2011
Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

 
Creator: William Rhinelander Stewart
Title: Washington Arch Records
Dates: 1872-1925 (Bulk 1872-1925)
Abstract: The collection contains material relating to William Rhinelander Stewart's time on the Washington Memorial Arch Committee which raised funds to erect the Arch in Washington Square Park.
Quantity: 3.0 Linear feet (7 boxes)
Location note: Manuscript cage
Call Phrase: MS 443.30

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Historical Note

Jan.- March 1889 William Rhinelander Stewart conceived the idea to build a temporary Triumphal Arch in Washington Square Park to celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of the inauguration of George Washington as the first President of the United States. Stewart becomes treasurer of the Washington Arch Fund, architect Stanford White designs the Arch free of charge, and Joseph Cabus builds the Arch.
April 1889 Funded on donations from local residents, a temporary wooden Arch is erected in time for the celebratory parade for the centennial of Washington's inauguration.
May 1889 The Committee for the Erection of the Washington Memorial Arch was organized to create a permanent replacement arch. It appoints Henry G. Marquand as Chairman, Louis Fitzgerald as Vice-Chairman, Richard Watson Gilder as Secretary, and William R. Stewart as Treasurer and selects Stanford White as the designer of the new arch.
Sept. 1889 Donations to the Washington Arch Fund reach $50,000 of the $100,000 estimated to complete the Arch's construction.
April 1890 David H. King, Jr., the builder of the Pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, is awarded the contract to build the Arch. He agrees to build the Arch for cost and waive his usual ten percent commission.
May 1890 Work upon the foundation is completed, and the laying of the corner-stone ceremony takes place.
Dec. 1890 The first block of marble is laid and construction continues throughout the winter.
Feb. 1891 Although the Arch Fund reaches $90,000, it is decided that more money is needed due to the change in plans to build a larger Arch with more complex ornamentation.
April 1892 The construction of the Arch comes to a close and donations to the Washington Arch Fund reach $121,907.50.
May 1895 The Washington Arch is formally dedicated and placed under the jurisdiction of city authorities.
1916 With money raised from the Washington Arch Statuary Fund, Hermon A. MacNeil completes his sculpture portraying Washington in his military uniform on the East Pedestal of the Arch.
1918 A. Stirling Calder's sculpture on the West Pedestal featuring Washington in his civilian clothing, also financed by the Statuary Fund, is completed.

Biographical Note

1852 William Rhinelander Stewart born on December 3rd to Lispenard and Mary Rogers (Rhinelander) Stewart.
1873 Stewart graduates from Columbia University Law School. He later gives up practicing law and devotes his professional career to philanthropy and the management of estates.
1880 He is chosen as Superintendent of the Mission Sunday School of Grace Chapel.
1882 Stewart appointed as commissioner for the first judicial district on the state board of charities. He continues to serve on this organization for forty-seven years.
1889 Stewart develops the idea of constructing the Washington Arch in Washington Square and serves as treasurer of the committee.
1895 Stewart formally presents Mayor William Strong with the key to the Arch, signifying the formal transfer of the Arch to city authorities.
1898 He is elected president of the National Conference of Charities and Corrections.
1900 Stewart organizes the New York State Conference of Charities and Corrections
1908-1929 He is president of the Rhinelander Real Estate Company.
1910 Stewart founds the New York City Conference of Charities and Corrections.
1911 He publishes his book The Philanthropic Work of Josephine Shaw Lowell, New York: Grace House, 1906.
1924 He publishes Grace Church and Old New York, New York: E. P. Dutton & company, 1924.
1929 Stewart dies on September 4th in New York City.

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Scope and Content Note

This collection is comprised of materials relating to William Rhinelander Stewart's work on the Washington Memorial Arch Committee. Because Stewart was the Treasurer of the Washington Arch Fund and the Washington Arch Statuary Fund, much of the material documents fundraising and financial activities. The collection consists of administrative information, correspondence with subscribers and committee members, fundraising records, material relating to ceremonies involving the Arch, prints and photographs of the Arch, drafts and publications, and newspaper clippings. A short biography and some personal correspondence, programs, invitations, and estate information of William Rhinelander Stewart is also included.

The collection mainly documents the administrative activities, such as fundraising and the contracting of architects and sculptors, involved in the building of the Washington Arch. Items of interest include letters from Theodore Roosevelt and Grover Cleveland (originals transferred to the appropriate Miscellaneous Manuscripts collection, copies remain in their place) and photographs and programs from the dedication ceremony for the Washington Arch.

Arrangement

Most of the collection is arranged by type of material. The incoming correspondence is arranged alphabetically according to the sender's last name, and the outgoing correspondence is located in letterpress books that are in chronological order.

The papers are arranged into the following series:

  1. Series I: Administrative Records
  2. Series II: Correspondence
  3. Series III: Fundraising Records
  4. Series IV: Centennial Celebration and Dedication Ceremonies
  5. Series V: Depictions of Washington Arch
  6. Series VI: Drafts and Publications
  7. Series VII: Newspapers
  8. Series VIII: Personal Materials of William Rhinelander Stewart

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Fitzgerald, Louis
  • Gilder, Richard Watson, 1844-1909
  • Marquand, Henry Gurdon, 1819-1902
  • Washington, George, 1732-1799--Anniversaries, etc.
  • Washington, George, 1732-1799--Monuments
  • White, Stanford, 1853-1906

Document Type

  • Account books
  • Agreements
  • Clippings
  • Contracts
  • Correspondence
  • Estate inventories
  • Gelatin silver prints
  • Invitations
  • Invoices
  • Letterpress copybooks
  • Minutes
  • Photographic prints
  • Prints
  • Programs
  • Receipts
  • Reports
  • Subscription lists

Subject Organizations

  • Committee on Erection of the Memorial Arch at Washington Square
  • McKim, Mead & White

Subject Topics

  • Arches--New York (State)--New York
  • Decoration and ornament, Architectural--New York (State)--New York
  • Fund raising
  • Monuments--New York (State)--New York
  • Outdoor sculpture--New York (State)--New York
  • The history of the Washington Arch in Washington Square, New York

Subject Places

  • Washington Square (New York, N.Y.)

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Administrative Information

Provenance

Donation of William R. Stewart, 1923-1925.

Access Restrictions

Open to qualified researchers.

Photocopying undertaken by staff only. Limited to twenty exposures of stable, unbound material per day. (Researchers may not accrue unused copy amounts from previous days.) See guidelines in Reading Room for details.

Use Restrictions

Permission to quote from this collection in a publication must be requested and granted in writing. Send permission requests, citing the name of the collection from which you wish to quote, to

Library Director
The New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as New York City -- Washington Arch, MS 443.30, the New-York Historical Society.

Related Material at The New-York Historical Society

One folder relating to William Rhinelander Stewart can be found housed under the call phrase Misc. Mss. Stewart, William R.

Separated Material

The tracing paper plans of the Arch dedication ceremony and seating arrangements have been separated to oversize. Letters in the collection to William R. Stewart from Theodore Roosevelt and Grover Cleveland have been replaced with photocopies and originals moved to Miscellaneous Manuscripts, Roosevelt, Theodore and Miscellaneous Manuscripts, Cleveland, Grover respectively.

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Container List

Series I: Administrative Records, 1883-1918

Scope and Contents note

This series consists of a variety of materials related to the administrative duties of the Washington Memorial Arch Committee. Materials include agreements and contracts between McKim, Mead & White and builders and sculptors, form letters sent to potential subscribers requesting donations, minutes, proposals, petitions, and reports.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Agreements and Contracts
1889, 1913-1918
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Form Letters
1883-1891, 1917
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Minutes, Proposals, and Resolutions
1889, 1895-1896, 1912-1916
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Petitions for Parade In Washington Square and to erect a Triumphal Arch
1889
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Reports
[1915], 1918

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Series II: Correspondence, 1887-1925

Scope and Contents note

This series includes the correspondence of William R. Stewart and other associates relating to matters concerning the committee, Arch, and subscriptions. The incoming correspondence to Stewart has been arranged alphabetically by the sender's last name. In general, the incoming correspondence to Stewart pertains to subscriptions collected and paid, input on the manuscript for the publication The History of the Washington Arch, and decisions made with the Department of Public Parks. One folder of correspondence from Richard Gilder, the Secretary of the committee, mainly deals with administrative matters such as meetings, resolutions, subscriptions paid, inquiries, costs of supplies, and contracts with particular builders and craftsmen. Stewart's professional involvement with Stanford White is well documented in their correspondence. The three folders of correspondence from Stanford White detail aspects of the construction including differences with the Department of Public Parks, estimates of costs, measurements, models of the eagles, the scaffolding, and the cleaning of the piers.

The outgoing correspondence from Stewart is bound in four letterpress books that are organized chronologically. Indices in the front of the books list correspondents alphabetically along with the page numbers of their letters. The correspondence solicits and thanks participants for subscriptions to the Memorial Arch Fund and details the business of the committee. Other correspondence in the collection includes letters to Thomas Keating from Richard Gilder as well as incoming correspondence to Richard Gilder, Henry G. Marquand, and Stanford White.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Incoming to William R. Stewart, from A-B
1889-1925
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Incoming to William R. Stewart, from C-D
1889-1901
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Incoming to William R. Stewart, from E-F
1887-1895
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Incoming to William R. Stewart, from G
1889-1895
Box: 1 Folder : 10 Incoming to William R. Stewart, from Richard W. Gilder
1889-1897
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Incoming to William R. Stewart, from H-L
1889-1918
Box: 1 Folder : 12 Incoming to William R. Stewart, from M
1889-1901
Box: 1 Folder : 13 Incoming to William R. Stewart, from N-R
1889-1908
Box: 1 Folder : 14 Incoming to William R. Stewart, from S
1889-1913
Box: 2 Folder : 1 Incoming to William R. Stewart, from T-Z
1889-1895
Box: 2 Folder : 2 Incoming to William R. Stewart, from Stanford White
1889-1891
Box: 2 Folder : 3 Incoming to William R. Stewart, from Stanford White
1892-1893
Box: 2 Folder : 4 Incoming to William R. Stewart, from Stanford White
1894-1897
Box: 2 Folder : 5 Outgoing from William R. Stewart, Letterpress Book #1
1889 May-1891 May
Box: 2 Folder : 6 Outgoing from William R. Stewart, Letterpress Book #2
1891 May 12-1892 Mar. 17
Box: 3 Folder : 1 Outgoing from William R. Stewart, Letterpress Book #3
1892 Mar. 18--1895 Apr. 25
Box: 3 Folder : 2 Outgoing from William R. Stewart, Letterpress Book #4
1895 Apr. 25--1897 Oct. 6
Box: 3 Folder : 3 Outgoing from William R. Stewart,
1889, 1892
Box: 3 Folder : 4 Incoming to Thomas F. Keating from Richard W. Gilder
1890
Box: 3 Folder : 5 Incoming to Richard W. Gilder from Various Correspondents
1889-1891
Box: 3 Folder : 6 Incoming to Henry G. Marquand from Various Correspondents
1889, 1895
Box: 3 Folder : 7 Incoming to Stanford White from Various Correspondents
1892
Box: 3 Folder : 8 Letters to and from Various Correspondents
1891-1895
Box: 3 Folder : 9 Blank Stationery
[1890], 1917

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Series III: Fundraising Records, 1889-1918

Scope and Contents note

Financial materials relating to the fundraising activities for the building of the Arch and, later, the statues of George Washington comprise this subseries.

Subseries I: The Washington Arch Fund, 1889-1897

Scope and Contents note

This subseries contains materials that document the fundraising activities to build a permanent Arch in Washington Square Park. It includes account books and several lists of contributors along with the amount each donated. It also includes bills, invoices, receipts, statements, and programs documenting the various benefits held to raise money for the Arch.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 3 Folder : 10 Account Books
1889-1895
Box: 3 Folder : 11 Subscriptions
1889 (1 of 2)
Box: 4 Folder : 1 Subscriptions
1889 (2 of 2)
Box: 4 Folder : 2 Subscription Book
1889-1890 (1 of 2)
Box: 4 Folder : 3 Subscription Book
1889-1890 (2 of 2)
Box: 4 Folder : 4 Lists of Subscriptions Received
1889-1890
Box: 4 Folder : 5 Booklets of Subscriptions of $100
1891-1892
Box: 4 Folder : 6 Bills, Invoices, Receipts, Statements
1889-1891
Box: 4 Folder : 7 Bills, Invoices, Receipts, Statements, "Washington Arch Vouchers, September 18th 1890 to July 8th 1895"
1890-1895, 1897
Box: 4 Folder : 8 Programs from Benefits for the Washington Arch Fund
1891
Box: 4 Folder : 9 Advertisements for Subscriptions
1891
Box: 4 Folder : 10 Blank Subscription Cards
1889, 1892
Box: 4 Folder : 11 Cancelled Checks
1889-1895
Box: 4 Folder : 12 Ribbon from a member of the Washington Memorial Arch Committee
undated
Subseries II: Washington Arch Statuary Fund, 1901-1918

Scope and Contents note

This subseries contains material relating to the fundraising efforts to build two statues of George Washington on the east and west sides of the completed Arch. It includes account books, subscription lists, bills, invoices, receipts, and statements.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 5 Folder : 1 Account Books
1901-1912
Box: 5 Folder : 2 Subscriptions
1902-1918
Box: 5 Folder : 3 Booklets of Subscriptions to the $32,000 Statuary Fund
[1902-1918]
Box: 5 Folder : 4 Bills, Invoices, Receipts, Statements, "Vouchers of the Washington Arch Statuary Fund"
1903, 1913-1918

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Series IV: Centennial Celebration and Ceremonies, 1889-1895

Scope and Contents note

This series includes plans, memorabilia and photographs from ceremonies involving the Washington Arch. The memorabilia consists of programs and invitations, and the ceremonies include the Centennial Celebration parade, the Laying of the Cornerstone ceremony, and the Dedication ceremony. The photographs of the dedication ceremony and parade are albumens, larger than cabinet size. The plans of the Arch dedication ceremony are oversize.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 5 Folder : 5 Invitations and Programs from the Centennial Celebration of the Inauguration of George Washington
1889
Box: 5 Folder : 6 Programs from Laying of the Corner Stone and Dedication Ceremony for the Washington Arch
1890, 1891, 1895
Box: 5 Folder : 7 Photographs of the Dedication Ceremony
1895
Box: OS Folder : Tracing paper plans of Arch Dedication Ceremony

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Series V: Depictions of the Washington Arch, 1890-1918

Scope and Contents note

This series contains photographs and prints that portray the Arch and its sculptures of George Washington. The prints of Arch depict the temporary Arch as well as the completed, permanent Arch. The photographs of the sculptures include close-ups as well as far away shots that show their placement on the east and west ends of the Arch. The photographs were produced by the silver gelatin process and printed on mat paper.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 5 Folder : 8 Prints of the Arch
[1890-1899]
Box: 5 Folder : 9 Photographs of Sculptures on the Arch
[1913-1918]

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Series VI: Drafts and Publications, 1893-1896

Scope and Contents note

This series contains the draft and published version of The History of the Washington Arch, a narrative text that tells the story of the Arch's beginnings, its main organizers, and the dedication ceremonies that followed. It also contains a 1892  Guide to New York Citythat includes a drawing and description of the Arch.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 5 Folder : 10 Draft, The History of the Washington Arch
1893
Box: 5 Folder : 11 Publication, The History of the Washington Arch
1896
Box: 5 Folder : 12 Guide to New York City, featuring the Washington Arch
1892

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Series VII: Newspapers, 1890-1920

Scope and Contents note

This series consists of a variety of articles documenting the Washington Arch, its dedication, and sculptures. Included in this series are clippings from The New York Times,  Harper's Weekly,  The Star,  New York Herald,  The Tribune,  The Press, and  The World. In addition, three copies of  The Chimney-Seat, an illustrated paper that donated the proceeds from its first two issues to the Washington Memorial Arch Fund, are included.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 6 Folder : 1 Newspapers, The Chimney-Seat
1889-1890
Box: 7 Folder : Newspaper Clippings Regarding the Arch
[1890-1920]

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Series VIII: Personal Materials of William Rhinelander Stewart, 1872-1929

Scope and Contents note

This series includes materials relating to the personal life of William R. Stewart. Such materials include agreements from his career as an estates manager, bulletins and programs from Grace Church and the Western New York Institution for Deaf Mutes, inventories of estates, and invitations to art openings, weddings, and dances.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 6 Folder : 2 Biography, William R. Stewart
[1890-1899]
Box: 6 Folder : 3 Correspondence, Non-Washington Memorial Arch Committee
1888-1889
Box: 6 Folder : 4 Invitations
1872-1889, 1925
Box: 6 Folder : 5 Bulletins and Programs
1888-1895, 1913
Box: 6 Folder : 6 Inventories of Estates of George P. Rogers, Mary R. Stewart, and William R. Stewart
1888-1889, undated
Box: 6 Folder : 7 Unidentified Inventories of Estates
undated
Box: 6 Folder : 8 Agreement between Serena Rhinelander and St. James Mission
1895

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