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Guide to the New-York Historical Society Collection of Geographic Images
circa 1600-2006
 PR 20

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


New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Marybeth Kavanagh

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on October 26, 2020
Finding aid written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Scope and Contents

This collection is an artificial collection created over the course of many years in the Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections. Small donations of prints or photographs of views of geographic locations have been filed here. The collection contains, in addition to prints and photographs, some newspaper clippings, some reproductions of paintings and other items in the N-YHS Museum collection, and some ephemera.

The collection is divided into seven series:

Series I: New York City Views - Manhattan;

Series II: New York City Views - the Bronx;

Series III: New York City Views - Brooklyn;

Series IV: New York City Views - Queens;

Series V: New York City Views - Staten Island;

Series VI: American Views;

Series VII: Foreign Views

Within each series, material is separately housed by size. Boxes hold material smaller than approximately 12 x 14 inches. Larger material is housed flat in folders in drawers. Oversize material is generally larger than 30 x 40 inches.

Boxed material is described to the folder level. Some larger material has been described to the item level. Oversize material is all described to the item level, to facilitate use and reduce unnecessary handling. See individual series descriptions for more cataloging information.

Series I- through Series V, New York City Views is arranged in an organizational structure first by borough, and then by topic of the view.

AERIAL views are those taken from airplanes or from the top of a tall building or birds-eye views (generally 19th-century prints). Aerial views of lower Manhattan include views of the World Trade Center. Aerial views of midtown include views of the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building. Aerial views of uptown include images of Central Park, Grant's Tomb, Riverside Drive and Riverside Park. Harbor views are those which show the shore and skyline from the water, or from across some body of water.

RIVERS, ISLANDS, and BRIDGES are arranged alphabetically. Most buildings on islands (for example, asylums on Roosevelt Island) are filed under general Buildings headings. It behooves researchers to look under both headings to be sure of complete coverage.

STREET SCENES are views along streets and avenues. Some show a small portion of one block, some show several blocks. For views that specifically spotlight one building, search under BUILDINGS. However, researchers should also search the street scenes for other images of a specific building, especially those which may also show surrounding buildings and street and sidewalk traffic. Street scenes are arranged alphabetically or numerically. A few named squares have their own folder (i.e. Herald Square and Times Square).

PARKS and GARDENS include images of parks and gardens, some now defunct, throughout New York City. A few gardens run as commercial enterprises, such as Elgin's Botanic Garden can be found here.

BUILDINGS are prints or photographs that spotlight a specific building. Churches, synagogues and other houses of worship are filed alphabetically by name following the organization provided in David Dunlap's encyclopedic work From Abyssinian to Zion, which is available for reference. Government buildings include police and fire stations. Residences are filed alphabetically by the last name of the owner, or by their own name, if applicable. Cross- references have been provided in those cases. Named apartment complexes are filed in alphabetically with residences, and unnamed apartment buildings can be found at the end of the run.

TRANSPORTATION includes images of all sorts of transportation found within the boundaries of New York City. For more general transportation (i.e. generic railroad images), look in the Subject File (PR 068). This category mainly includes images of buses, carriages, elevated railroads and subway images. Images of shipping boats can sometimes be found in Harbor Views, and also in the Maritime History File (PR 100).

EVENTS include views of special events, such as parades, funeral processions, and celebrations. Researchers looking for parade images should also check street scenes for those streets that are often parade routes, such as Broadway and Fifth Avenue.

Material housed in boxes includes many photos by Beecher Ogden, and also a great many images (most copy photographs) collected, and donated, by George Bagoe.

Material housed flat has been separated into two categories based on format: Prints and Photographs. Within each format, material has been arranged into the above categories. Each image filed under the Buildings categories is separately listed in the finding aid below. In other categories, attempts have been made to provide more specific information about images in each folder, to reduce browsing and encourage more specific use.

Series VI. American Views is arranged alphabetically by state. Within states, views of cities are also arranged alphabetically. In the boxed views, if five or more views of a city exist, that city received its own folder. Within each city, additional folders were also created for buildings, etc. with five or more views.

Series VII. Foreign Views is arranged alphabetically by country. Current (as of 2006), and not contemporaneous, names of countries were used. Each country for which there is a view is listed. In the boxed views, if five or more views of a city within a country exist, that city received its own folder.

Arrangement

The collection is divided into seven series:

Series I: New York City Views - Manhattan;

Series II: New York City Views - the Bronx;

Series III: New York City Views - Brooklyn;

Series IV: New York City Views - Queens;

Series V: New York City Views - Staten Island;

Series VI: American Views;

Series VII: Foreign Views

Within each series, material is separately housed by size. Boxes hold material smaller than approximately 12 x 14 inches. Larger material is housed flat in folders in drawers. Oversize material is generally larger than 30 x 40 inches.

Boxed material is described to the folder level in all series.

Flat material in Series I-V (New York City Views) has been described to the item level.

Oversize material in Series I-V (New York City Views) is described to the item level, to facilitate use and reduce unnecessary handling.

See individual series descriptions for more cataloging information.

Series I- through Series V, New York City Views is arranged in an organizational structure first by borough, and then by topic of the view.

Series VI. American Views is arranged alphabetically by state. Within states, views of cities are also arranged alphabetically. In the boxed views, if five or more views of a city exist, that city received its own folder. Within each city, additional folders were also created for buildings, etc. with five or more views.

Series VII. Foreign Views is arranged alphabetically by country. Current (as of 2006), and not contemporaneous, names of countries were used. Each country for which there is a view is listed. In the boxed views, if five or more views of a city within a country exist, that city received its own folder.