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Guide to the Messages for the President-Elect Collection
2016-2017
 MS 3027

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


New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Larry Weimer

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on February 10, 2021 using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Descriptive Summary

Creator: New-York Historical Society
Title: Messages for the President-Elect collection
Dates [inclusive]: 2016-2017
Abstract: The collection includes about 5,700 sticky notes from New-York Historical Society's special installation Messages for the President-Elect. Inspired by artist Matthew "Levee" Chavez's work  Subway Therapy,  Messages consisted of notes posted to N-YHS's front glass wall by visitors expressing thoughts concerning the upcoming inauguration of Donald J. Trump as U.S. President. The special installation was in place from 20 December 2016-20 January 2017.
Quantity: 1 Linear feet in one record carton
Location: Materials are stored offsite and advance notice is required for use. Please contact manuscripts@nyhistory.org prior to your research visit to coordinate access. Keep in mind that it will take between two (2) and five (5) business days for collections to arrive, and you should plan your research accordingly.
Language: .
Mixed Materials [1 0170 00001 9794] [Offsite-Box]: 1
Call Phrase: MS 3027

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Biographical/Historical Note

Messages for the President-Elect was a special installation at New-York Historical Society inspired by  Subway Therapy, which was created by artist Matthew "Levee" Chavez following the 2016 presidential election, in which Donald J. Trump defeated Hillary Clinton. From the day after the election until 16 December, Chavez invited passersby at Manhattan's Union Square subway station to express their emotions about the election on sticky notes (e.g., Post-its) and post them to the station wall. When Chavez's work was taken down, about 5,600 of the approximately 20,000 total notes were donated to New-York Historical Society. In connection with the donation and in light of the continuing public discussion about the election in advance of Inauguration Day on 17 January 2017, New-York Historical applied Chavez's concept within its own building. On the glass wall at the front entrance of N-YHS's building, facing Central Park West, visitors were invited to write on sticky notes their answer to the question: What's your message for our incoming president? The special installation ran from 20 December 2016 through 22 January 2017.

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Scope and Contents Note

The Messages for the President-Elect collection includes about 5,700 sticky notes posted to New-York Historical Society's front glass wall from 20 December 2016-20 January 2017. A small number were added to the collection in early February by a visiting school group. Given the limited space on the glass wall, the posted notes were thinned each day to make room for more, and off-point vulgar/obscene notes were taken down to avoid provoking others in a similar vein. All remaining notes were finally removed/deinstalled from the wall on 23 January. All sticky notes removed from the wall during the course of the installation were retained, except for those that were badly damaged and a set of about 22 notes that included the first name of a person (unknown but unrelated to the theme of the project), her phone number and derogatory references.

Arrangement Note

There is no particular arrangement to the sticky notes, that is, how they are found in the container does not necessarily reflect their original relationship to one another on New-York Historical's Society wall.

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Trump, Donald, 1946-

Subject Organizations

  • New-York Historical Society

Subject Topics

  • Presidents -- United States -- Election -- 2016.
  • Public opinion
  • Sticky notes

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Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Open to qualified researchers. Special handling instructions are found in the collection container. N-YHS also holds two other, similar collections of sticky notes (see Related Materials Note); to ensure that the contents are not accidentally mixed, only one of the collections may be presented to a patron at any one time.

Materials are stored offsite and advance notice is required for use. Please contact manuscripts@nyhistory.org prior to your research visit to coordinate access. Keep in mind that it will take between two (2) and five (5) business days for collections to arrive, and you should plan your research accordingly.

Use Restrictions

This collection is owned by the New-York Historical Society. The copyright law of the United States governs the making of photocopies and protects unpublished materials as well as published materials. 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.)

Preferred Citation Note

This collection should be cited as Messages for the President-Elect Collection, MS 3027, New-York Historical Society.

Related Archival Materials Note

The artist Matthew "Levee" Chavez donated a portion of his work Subway Therapy, which was the inspiring concept behind  Messages for the President-Elect, to New-York Historical. See call number MS 3025.

Chavez's work inspired similar projects in other parts of the country. One such project was implemented by the third grade of the Brooklyn Friends School. N-YHS holds that collection as well; see call number MS 3026.

Immediate Source of Acquisition Note

The collection was created by New-York Historical Society from the content of its special installation Messages for the President-Elect (20 December 2016-20 January 2017).

Processing Information Note

The individual sticky notes/Post-its that make up the collection were housed on plastic sheets and in archival trays by conservator Alan Balicki in April 2017. The descriptive finding aid was prepared by archivist Larry Weimer in May 2017.

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